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Williams Files Fully Subscribed Sundance at FERC

Williams Files Fully Subscribed Sundance at FERC

Williams' gas pipeline unit filed an application with FERC to construct and operate the Sundance expansion project last week. Williams hopes the proposed addition to the Transco mainline, which is already fully subscribed, will be a vital fuel line for the booming Southeast power generation industry.

The project is designed to lengthen the Transco mainline and provide an additional 236,383 Dth/d of firm transportation capacity to an area that Williams believes is ripe for major energy growth. Transco hopes to gain FERC certification by the summer of next year.

Approximately 38 miles of new pipeline along the company's existing mainline system will be installed along with modifications to existing compressor stations in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina, according to the project plans. The $134 million project will go in service in the spring of 2002.

"Robust economic growth in the southeast, and the subsequent development of gas-fired power generation facilities, is driving this expansion of our pipeline system," said Gary D. Lauderdale, senior vice president and general manager of Transco. "By expanding our existing system, we can provide additional natural gas transmission capacity to new power developers and traditional end-users at a competitive price in time to meet the market demand."

Paula Delaney, a spokeswoman for Transco, said Sundance is fully subscribed with firm transportation contracts. In agreements announced last week, Transco said Southern Co. and Carolina Power and Light (CP&L) have agreed to purchase most of the capacity on the line.

Southern said it purchased 140,000 Dth/d from the Sundance expansion to serve its growing power generation portfolio in the Southeast. "With this agreement, we have secured the means to provide reliable, low-cost energy to our customers for many years to come," said Charles McCrary, president of Southern Co.'s Generation, the business unit responsible for developing and operating Southern Co.'s non-nuclear generating plants in the Southeast. "As we are growing to serve the needs of our customers, we're developing a number of clean, efficient, combined-cycle units across the Southeast."

CP&L signed up for 75 MMcf/d for the same reasons. It plans to construct facilities and generate 7,000 MW in the region by 2010. That total includes plans to build up to seven combustion turbine generators at sites in Richmond and Rowan counties to be operational in 2001 and 2002.

To serve those markets, CP&L is planning to build a $100 million 82-mile intrastate lateral between Iredell and Richmond counties which would originate from the Sundance expansion. The 30-inch-diameter pipeline would have an initial capacity of 200 MMcf/d with a total capability of 700 MMcf/d. It is scheduled to be completed during the spring of 2001 to coincide with the start-up of the Richmond County power plant.

CP&L's pipeline, announced last December (see NGI Dec. 20), replaced a joint venture project between CP&L and Sonat called the Palmetto Pipeline. While Transco and Scana were able to stymie Palmetto with protests at FERC, CP&L's new project is an intrastate line and does not require FERC or state commission approval. Hughes said the environmental approvals needed for the lateral are progressing as planned but it's still very early in the process.

John Norris

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