Duke Energy Gas Transmission (DEGT) said Tuesday that it received some positive feedback from potential gas transportation customers who participated in recent non-binding open seasons for existing and expansion capacity on three Duke pipeline systems: Union Gas, Algonquin Gas Transmission and Texas Eastern Transmission.

The three operating units simultaneously conducted open seasons from Aug. 3 through Sept. 30 to gauge market interest in infrastructure expansion needs in eastern North America.

“The marketplace’s response to DEGT’s unique combination of market accessibility, storage capabilities and coastal access for liquefied natural gas (LNG) was very good,” said DEGT President Tom O’Connor. “We are pleased with both the transportation and storage capacity volumes nominated and the length of service terms expressed — most of which were for 10 or more years.”

The company held the open seasons jointly to offer customers integrated storage and transportation capacity options from a variety of supply points to numerous eastern markets (see NGI, Aug. 9).

Several Duke pipelines established all-time peak throughput days last winter despite 850 MMcf/d of new pipeline capacity that the company added to the grid last year. There also is new interest in capacity to support new sources of supply from existing and proposed LNG import terminals in the Northeast, Gulf Coast and in eastern Canada.

Duke said it found market interest in both supply- and demand-driven infrastructure expansion opportunities with various in-service dates beginning in 2005 on any one or a combination of all three pipelines. There also was interest in obtaining existing pipeline capacity as early as this year.

On the Texas Eastern shippers expressed interest in more than 2 Bcf/d of expansion capacity, and on Algonquin shippers signed non-binding requests for 1 Bcf/d of capacity. Last winter, Algonquin experienced 11 of its top 12 peak days in its history, and Texas Eastern experienced three of its top four peak days in its history in its market area.

More LNG also is coming into the Algonquin system from the Distrigas LNG facility in Everett, MA. Distrigas had a firm 90,000 Dth/d contract on Algonquin last winter and that was expanded for next winter to 150,000 Dth/d. Algonquin also completed a new connection with Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline at Beverly, MA, last year, bringing eastern Canadian gas directly into the system for the first time.

Meanwhile, Algonquin filed earlier this year with FERC to build a new lateral to the Providence, RI, LNG storage facility, which KeySpan is converting to an LNG import terminal. The proposed Weavers Cove LNG terminal in Fall River, MA, also would connect with Algonquin.

Union Gas has received at least one proposal for an LNG facility in eastern Canada to bring gas back to Dawn storage. Irving Oil recently received final Canadian regulatory approval for its LNG terminal at its Canaport refinery in St. John, NB, and Anadarko’s Access Northeast Energy also received final Canadian approvals for its LNG terminal in Point Tupper, NS.

During the open season, Duke said it received shipper interest for more than 3 Bcf/d on Union’s pipeline system and more than 50 Bcf of storage expansion capacity at the Dawn Hub.

“These expressions of interest are an important first step in the development of expanded energy infrastructure in Ontario as we capitalize on the Dawn hub’s access to North American gas supply,” O’Connor said. “While typically not all nominations submitted during a non-binding open season result in the execution of firm contracts, clearly the signal here is a strong continuing demand for additional services and future infrastructure in this region.”

For more information, contact Tina Faraca at Algonquin at (617) 560-1462 or tvfaraca@duke-energy.com; Bob Riga at Texas Eastern at (617) 560-1436 or rgriga@duke-energy.com; or Carol Cameron at Union Gas at (519) 436-5258 or ccameron@uniongas.com.

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