Hearing Sought on Gas Quality Of Cove Point

Washington Gas Light Co. last week called on FERC to schedule a formal hearing to explore concerns of distribution customers that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be imported by Williams' Cove Point LNG facility will meet the standards for pipeline-quality gas.

In a protest filed last Monday, the Washington D.C.-based distributor said a hearing was needed to satisfy future customers of Cove Point that the type and character of the LNG to be imported at the Lusby, MD, facility, if re-opened, will fall within the standard parameters of traditional transmission quality gas.

Williams last month asked the Commission for the go-ahead to reactivate the mothballed Cove Point LNG terminal and import services by April 1, 2002, and expand its LNG storage capacity to 7.8 Bcf (See NGI, Feb. 5, 2001).

A review by FERC of the Cove Point LNG plant should address both the financial and operational aspects associated with the introduction of a non-traditional fuel source into the interstate pipeline system, Washington Gas said.

The distributor noted it had no proof that the LNG at Cove Point would be anything other than pipeline-quality gas. "We just basically want to be assured that the natural gas that is activated...meets our standards," said spokeswoman Joan M. Hairston.

Similar fears were raised in the mid to late 1970s, when the Cove Point facilities were built, she said. At the time, the energy industry had two years to address the issues, Hairston recalled, but it has a much shorter timeframe (six months) to deal with them now. A key concern is that Washington Gas may have to modify its distribution equipment to accommodate a different pressure level in Cove Point's LNG pipeline, Hairston told NGI.

Susan Parker

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