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Viking Gas Expansion Gets Nod at FERC

Viking Gas Expansion Gets Nod at FERC

Viking Gas Transmission got some good news last week when FERC approved a looping expansion of its system that will make it possible for existing customers between the northern Minnesota border and West-Central Wisconsin to receive up to 28,000 Dth/d of additional gas supplies by the end of the year.

Viking Gas plans to construct loops at five different segments - all in Minnesota - of its 497-mile system, which would result in a 5.5% increase in the pipeline's current capacity of 480 MMcf/d, said Viking President Gregory Palmer. "It's kind of a benchmark for us" because it will boost Viking's total system capability to over half a Bcf per day.

He estimated that the $21.4 million planned expansion, which has a target in-service date of Nov. 1, was 100% subscribed for winter and 89% subscribed for summer [CP98-761].

Five shippers have signed 15-year agreements for the expansion capacity, including Cardinal FG; the City of Perham, MN; Northern States Power-Minnesota (Viking's parent); Northern States Power-Wisconsin (affiliate); and UtiliCorp United. The Viking affiliates picked up the lion's share of the capacity.

FERC approved Viking's request for incremental monthly demand rates of $10.65/Dth for firm service from its Emerson interconnect (at the U.S.-Canadian international boundary) to any Zone 1 delivery point and $13.65/Dth for firm service from Emerson to any Zone 2 delivery point. Given that the proposed commodity rate for the project was equal to the existing commodity rate for firm service, FERC said its acceptance of the rate was subject to the outcome of Viking's pending general rate case [RP98-290].

Because Viking proposes to recover its annual $3.9 million cost of service entirely through incremental rates, the Commission did not believe it needed to include an at-risk condition on the project.

Susan Parker

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