Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., launched an open season this week to offer existing and potential shippers expanded firm natural gas storage and transportation services in its eastern markets, primarily Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The open season will run through Aug. 15.

Depending on the outcome of the open season, Columbia said it may develop 16.4 Bcf of new storage capacity with a daily delivery capability of 270,000 Dth/d in its eastern market area. The projected in-service date for the storage expansion would be spring 2009 for injection, and winter 2009-2010 for withdrawal, the Fairfax, VA-based pipeline company noted.

“Firm storage capacity, particularly in the eastern markets, is highly valued by natural gas shippers,” said Christopher A. Helms, president of NiSource’s pipeline group. “This expansion fits in with our overall strategy to identify and capture long-term growth opportunities across our market areas.”

Columbia operates a 12,750-mile interstate gas pipeline system in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southern states, including 36 gas storage fields.

Shippers interested in acquiring firm capacity for a minimum 15-year period should submit a bit package to Columbia. Existing or potential customers seeking more information about the open season can contact Michael J. Strauss at (703) 227-3364 or, or Lloyd “Moe” McKee at (703) 227-3206 or

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