BC Gas said it thinks its Southern Crossing Pipeline is now a gosince it reached agreement on terms with BC Hydro for firm capacity onthe proposed pipeline and peak-shaving to be provided to BC Gas by BCHydro. In April, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC)voted down the $350 million Southern Crossing Pipeline paralleling theexisting BC Gas mainline in southern British Columbia between Yahk andOliver (see Daily GPI April 8, 1998). BCGas plans to re-file today with the BCUC and said it has anothershipper in addition to BC Hydro.

“The commission in its decision felt that the projected growthin demand from residential and commercial customers alone on the BCGas system were not sufficient to justify the large capitalexpenditure at this time,” BC Gas said in an April statement.

The commission ordered BC Gas to explore synergies between theseasonal and peaking needs of its customers and the firm pipelinecapacity requirements represented by new thermal generation plants.BC Hydro was looking at firming up gas transportation for increasedpower load. The idea is now for BC Gas to buy back some of BCHydro’s contracted capacity during peak gas demand periods.

“BC Gas believes that it has now met the conditions outlined inthe BCUC order of April 3, 1998 to make the Southern CrossingPipeline the lowest cost option for residential and commercialnatural gas customers as well as serving the best interests ofelectricity customers,” the company said in a statement this week.”If everything goes well we’ll be in place Nov. 1, 2000,” said BCGas spokesman Cam Avery.

In the same area Northwest Pipeline has filed for a ColumbiaGorge expansion. The project would increase capacity fromStanfield, OR, to Sumas, WA. Initial volumes of the expansion areexpected to be 50 MMcf/d with in-service targeted for late 1999.The company hopes to add an additional 50 MMcf/d in 2002.

“We’ve actually bought some capacity on Northwest ourselves,” BCGas’ Avery said. “We’re trying to meet our own growth in peak loaddemand. This whole area is growing. We’re only delivering into thelower mainland of British Columbia 105 MMcf/d. The rest of it’sjust looping into our existing system in the interior of BritishColumbia.”

BC Gas is up against a proposal for an LNG plant that wouldprovide peak shaving. That proposal has been put forth by WestcoastEnergy. At the time BC Gas last filed with the BCUC, a number ofother LNG projects also were proposed by other parties.

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