El Paso Natural Gas last week denied accusations of NorthwestPipeline that it has routinely violated the confirmation andscheduling deadlines established by the Gas Industry StandardsBoard (GISB).

“Contrary to its allegations, El Paso strictly adheres to GISBprocedures and deadlines,” El Paso told the Commission [RP00-168].It urged FERC to dismiss the complaint filed by Northwest lastmonth.

In the complaint, Northwest accused El Paso of makingadjustments to confirmed amounts scheduled to flow between the twopipeline system “after” the confirmation deadline, creatingscheduled quantity discrepancies for shippers on Northwest.Northwest said GISB rules require changes to confirmed amounts tobe made “prior” to the confirmation deadline. The complaint askedthe Commission to order El Paso to comply with the GISB standardsby honoring the confirmations that it sends before deadline.

But El Paso contends that what Northwest describes as a “lateconfirmation” is actually just part of the scheduling process andis allowed under GISB rules. “It is the normal operation of thescheduling process, not so-called ‘late confirmations.’that…..some transactions inevitably produce differences betweenthe flows nominated by shippers, the quantity ‘confirmed’ asavailable, and the amount ultimately scheduled.”

Even when there are differences between nominated and confirmedamounts, “typically they are relatively minor in [size] and do notcause the sort of disruption that Northwest’s complaint implies,”El Paso said.

Northwest said it has tried to personally resolve the situationwith El Paso and even turned to FERC’s Enforcement Hotline forhelp, but was rebuffed at each turn. It contends El Paso’s allegedGISB violations have resulted in the “devaluation of Northwest’scapacity” because of the uncertainty surrounding the delivery ofgas to and receipt of gas from El Paso. Susan Parker

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