The C$4.6 billion Alliance natural gas and liquids pipeline,designed to transport 1.325 Bcf/d from northeast British Columbiato Chicago, has completed its construction phase and now iscommissioning the main line, laterals, compressors and supervisoryequipment.

The final weld was completed last week near Regina, SK, andAlliance now is injecting linepack. The 1,857 mile mainline isstretched to the Chicago area from northeastern BC. October isstill the target month to begin service of the pipeline, which willcarry both natural gas and liquids.

The pipeline system will transport natural gas through a 36-inchdiameter high-pressure line. There will be 14 mainline compressorstations: seven in Canada and seven in the U.S. When it beganconstruction in 1999, Alliance already had commitments from 37shippers for 15-year contracts worth a total of $8.2 billion (seeDaily GPI, March 5).

The large volumes of gas Alliance will haul from western Canadainto the U.S. Midwest is expected to have a major impact on existingpipelines, markets and prices. TransCanada PipeLines already has filedfor new tolls to compensate for customers which have failed to renewfirm contracts on its line and instead are routing their gas throughAlliance. New gas that makes its way into the Chicago area could besent on to southern Ontario through the Chicago-to-Dawn VectorPipeline, scheduled to open in late October with intial capacity of720 Bcf/d. (see Daily GPI, June 29) TheFoothills/Northern Border route from western Canada into the Midwestalso is expected to see some slack.

Alliance spokesman Jay Godfrey said last month that “whenOctober comes we won’t be in the position that we’ll have to startfilling the pipe. It essentially already is going to be full.”Connections to 37 gas plants are already complete.

Investors in Alliance Pipeline Limited Partnerships includeaffiliates of Coastal (14.4%), Enbridge (21.4%), Fort ChicagoEnergy Partners LP (26%), Williams (14.6%) and Westcoast Energy(23.6%).

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