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Williams to Expand Kern River To Serve CA Demand Growth

Williams to Expand Kern River To Serve CA Demand Growth

Kern River Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of Williams, filed an application last week with FERC to add 124,500 Dth/d of additional firm transportation capacity to its 922-mile pipeline system. The company said the California Expansion Project will not only provide additional transportation capacity from Wyoming to markets in California, but also will provide an opportunity for Williams to offer significantly reduced rates for firm transportation based on the recent approval by FERC of Kern River's Extended Term Rate Program.

"A combination of rapid growth and the development of new gas-fired power generation facilities in California is fueling expansion of the system," said Kirk Morgan, director of business development for Kern River and Northwest Pipeline.

The project includes construction of three new compressor stations, an additional compressor at an existing facility in Wyoming, restaging a compressor in Utah, and upgrading two meter stations. Kern River said the $80 million project is targeted to be complete by May 1, 2002.

The company said demand for firm transportation on Kern River was driven by several factors: the diversion of Canadian gas supplies to markets in the Midwest from the Pacific region; increased production in the Rocky Mountain basin; strong economic growth in Kern River's market areas; and increased demand from gas-fired electric generation facilities.

Williams said it anticipates holding an open season later this year to determine the level of market interest in a second expansion of the Kern River pipeline. "The demand for competitively priced transportation to markets in Nevada and California continues to grow. At the same time, gas producers in the Rocky Mountain basin are stepping up production. An expansion on Kern River in 2003 could help bring that production to market," said Morgan.

Alex Steis

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