Westcoast Energy has shelved the proposed Orca Natural GasPipeline project because of a lack of market interest in thePacific Northwest. The proposed 140-mile pipeline from Sumas, WA,to points along the coast, was expected to be in service in 2004.

Many northwestern Washington communities that would benefit fromthe proposed project are served by project partner Cascade NaturalGas. Westcoast said it intends to reopen the project when sponsorsare able to acquire the required market support.

The pipeline would have brought gas from Canada south to SouthWhidbey Island and then west across Admiralty Inlet to serve eastJefferson County, WA, including Port Townsend and surroundingcommunities south of Port Townsend. Westcoast initially said theproject was in response to the growing demand for gas in Northwest,WA, where the population has grown 7.5% in the past five years.

Cascade’s Will Odell, vice president of districts, said theproject would have provided flexibility and liquidity in westernWashington. “While this decision by Westcoast is disappointing, westill believe that additional natural gas capacity will be requiredto meet future energy demands in northwest Washington.”

Cascade, a Seattle-based local distribution company, providesgas service to 184,000 residential, commercial, industrial andtransportation customers in 90 communities in Washington andOregon.

Rocco Canonica

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