The sponsors of Independence Pipeline and Millennium Pipelineprojects contend CNG Transmission Corp. is speaking with a forkedtongue when it comes to assessing the future need for new pipelinecapacity to the Northeast market.

CNG has long been claiming that no market exists to support theNortheast-bound Independence and Millennium projects, but it didan about-face a few weeks ago when it announced a joint venturewith Tennessee Gas Pipeline to transport 750,000 Dth/d of gas fromChicago and the Niagara Import Point to markets in New York,Pennsylvania and New England, according to sponsors of Independenceand Millennium [CP97-315 et al].

But CNG, which views its proposal as “economically andenvironmentally superior” to the Independence and Millenniumgreenfield projects, said its joint venture – the Atlantic AllianceProject – doesn’t signal a departure from its previous views onNortheast market growth. “In fact, this project represents areasonable way to accommodate market growth, while encouraging theefficient use of the existing pipeline grid,” it told FERC. CNGadded the project would involve “construction of a relatively smallamount of new pipeline facilities,” possibly as little as 31 miles.

Independence contends CNG’s has stooped to using “delayingtactics,” such as criticizing FERC’s environmental analysis of the1 Bcf/d Independence, in order to give its Atlantic AllianceProject time to “catch up.”

Millennium officials also accused CNG of similar tactics, addingthat the Atlantic Alliance Project shows CNG has flip-flopped onits previous claim that no new capacity is needed for theNortheast. The Atlantic Alliance “plans make it clear that CNG doesnot agree with the testimony it…..presented to the Commission [atthe Northeast conference in June], and that the testimony was onlyfiled as part of a regulatory strategy designed to delay theMillennium project,” said David C. Pentzien, chairman of theMillennium Pipeline Management Co., the sole general partner in theproject.

CNG, as well as Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco), has askedthe Commission to suspend further action on Independence while FERCstaff considers alternatives to the project, including ones thatthey have proposed. They insist staff’s draft environmental impactstatement (DEIS) analysis of the Independence and the relatedMarketLink projects was “deficient” and “useless” because it failedto review all viable alternatives. Tetco has gone a “step further”and has asked FERC to hold another conference to assess variousproject alternatives. CNG said it supports Tetco’s request.

But Independence countered that “neither proposal demonstratedthat sufficient [turnback] capacity would be available to serve theneeds of the Independence and MarketLink shippers anytime remotelyclose to a November 2000 in-service date.” Moreover, it said that”for sufficient turnback capacity to be available to meet the firmneeds for Independence/MarketLink markets, substantial existingmarket demand that is currently being served by that capacity wouldhave to disappear…..Independence does not believe this is arealistic assumption.”

Susan Parker

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