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Transco Tests Market for Another Mainline Expansion

Transco Tests Market for Another Mainline Expansion

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line is holding an open season on yet another proposed mainline expansion project designed to serve the eastern seaboard. The open season will run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 29 for shippers interested in incremental annual firm transportation service to be created by the Momentum Expansion Project.

Momentum is a proposed expansion from Station 65 in Louisiana to Station 165 in Virginia, designed to meet increasing natural gas demand in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic area. "The southeastern United States continues to experience robust growth," said Gary Lauderdale, senior vice president and general manager of Williams' Transco pipeline. "Power generation markets account for more than half of the natural gas demand in the Southeast, particularly markets in Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

The project is anticipated to be in service by May 1, 2003. Williams plans to file an application with FERC in the second quarter of 2001. The level of market commitment will determine the cost, facilities, final capacity and rates for the project.

Lauderdale said market growth in the "South Atlantic" region is about 3% per year. "We see a more robust annual growth rate in the South Atlantic than you're seeing across the nation in general. And it is predominately higher generation load.

"I think it is safe to say [the expansion] probably will be a combination of looping along existing right of way and additional compression to existing stations. I wouldn't contemplate any greenfield-type pipelines except maybe a lateral to connect to a power plant or something like that. I would put a bracket on it between 250,000 and 700,000 Dth/d. It is pretty hard to tell right now. We probably need 250,000 Dth/d or so from an economic standpoint."

Transco currently is building one other mainline expansion, the 204,000 Dth/d SouthCoast project, and has another on file at FERC - the 236,000 Dth/d Sundance project. It also is in the process of building the 700,000 Dth/d MarketLink project and the 125,000 Dth/d Cross Bay project in the Northeast. Robust economic growth and the subsequent development of gas-fired power generation facilities, is the main force driving all of these expansions, company officials have said.

FERC approved the SouthCoast Expansion in May. It will deliver supplies starting in November, primarily in Georgia and South Carolina. The 44 miles of expanded pipe primarily will serve Atlanta Gas Light, Georgia Power and a new power generation plant to be built by the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper). The $108 million project will increase mainline capacity between Station 85 in Butler, AL, to delivery points in Zone 4.

The Sundance project will include 38 miles of new pipeline along the company's existing mainline system 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.

The $528 million MarketLink project was approved by FERC in April and will involve construction of 152 miles of 42-inch diameter and 36-inch diameter pipeline looping in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, plus compression.

The company also has filed an application for the $60 million Cross Bay Pipeline project with partners Duke Energy and KeySpan. The Cross Bay will increase deliveries into the New York City metropolitan area.

Additional information regarding the Momentum project may be obtained by contacting Helen Laughlin at (713) 215-3773 or Orlando Alvarado at (713) 215-3378.

Rocco Canonica

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