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Transwestern Expansion In Service

Transwestern Expansion In Service

Construction is complete, and Transwestern Pipeline Co. has increased its available capacity to California by 15%, a move providing expansion shippers with opportunities to move incremental volumes from the San Juan and Permian Basins to the California border. The $12 million project was approved by FERC in mid-January (see NGI, Jan. 17, 2000).

Transwestern's approach to boosting its pipeline capacity included the installation of a 10,000 hp motor to run the new compressor station near Gallup, NM, and the addition of gas coolers at the La Plata "A" compressor station at Ignacio, CO, and Bloomfield, NM. The in-service date was May 1, according to company officials.

The expansion is expected to allow Transwestern to maintain its mainline operating pressure from Thoreau west to California at 950 psig at all times, enabling it to better accommodate shifts in market demand to the east without restricting delivery capacity to California. With this move, Transwestern will be able to once again operate its mainline west of Thoreau at its certificated capacity of 1.09 Bcf/d on a firm basis, and meet its demand for gas on the eastern portion of its system. This includes delivery of 750 MMcf/d to Needles, CA, and 340 MMcf/d to Topock, AZ.

The cooling equipment is expected to create an additional 50,000 Mcf/d of incremental firm capacity on the Blanco-to-Thoreau segment of the San Juan lateral, according to company officials.

Six shippers contracted with Transwestern for the 140,000 Mcf/d of capacity created by the Gallup expansion, including Southern Energy, Sempra Energy Trading, North Star Steel, Duke Energy Trading and Marketing, Reliant Energy Services and El Paso Energy Marketing. The transportation contracts are for five years, except for North Star Steel and El Paso Energy Marketing.

According to FERC, the Gallup expansion is not expected to affect the take-away capacity of downstream shippers and "will not result in Transwestern transporting more gas than its certificated capacity level." FERC said the expansion would allow the company to provide the level of service it already has been authorized to do for "Needles to Topock."

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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