FERC was dealing out pipeline certificates like cards at a Black Jack table last Wednesday at its regular agenda meeting. Recipients included the Georgia Strait Crossing pipeline, Northwest Pipeline for a mainline expansion, Southern Natural for its South System II expansion, South Carolina Pipeline for a new line to the Elba Island LNG terminal, Millennium Pipeline (see separate story), two projects designed to serve Long Island (see separate story), and to Northern Natural Gas for compression expansion in Nebraska. Kinder Morgan Texas also won a presidential permit for a border crossing project.

The Georgia Strait project, owned by Williams Companies and BC Hydro, would transport natural gas to power generators on Vancouver Island in Canada from connections with Northwest Pipeline and Westcoast Energy near Sumas, WA. The project calls for the construction of 47.3 miles of pipeline — 33.1 miles of 20-inch diameter onshore pipe from Sumas to Cherry Point, WA, and 13.9 miles of 16-inch diameter pipe from Cherry Point to an offshore interconnect with the Canadian leg of the Georgia Strait project, which would deliver gas into the distribution system of Centra Gas British Columbia Inc. on Vancouver Island, BC. BC Hydro is the sponsor of the Canadian portion of the pipeline.

In July, the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the U.S. portion a favorable environmental review based on the fact that about 73% of the onshore route of the would be adjacent to existing pipeline, power line or road rights-of-way, and about 69% of the onshore facilities would be located in areas that have been disturbed previously by agricultural, grazing or industrial activities (see NGI, July 22). The project received a favorable preliminary determination on non-environmental issues from the Commission in mid-March (see NGI, March 18).

Williams and BC Hydro said the Georgia Strait project would deliver 95,700 Dth/d initially, all of which has been committed to Powerex under a 30-year negotiated agreement. Williams notified FERC earlier this year that it would postpone the in-service data of the project until Oct. 1, 2004 because it said it was unlikely that approvals could be obtained in time from Canadian regulators to complete the Canadian leg of the pipeline to meet the original planned date of Oct. 1, 2003. Williams also upped the estimated construction costs for the project to $94.9 million, compared to its original projection of $90.7 million.

Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline LP, the operator of a major intrastate system in the Texas Gulf Coast, won a presidential permit to build a border-crossing pipeline to serve rapidly growing gas demand in northern Mexico (see NGI, July 15). The short 30-inch diameter pipeline, located south of Roma, TX, would have enough capacity to transport 375 MMcf/d from a new 8.9-mile extension of Kinder Morgan’s Texas intrastate system to Mexican pipeline facilities to be built by affiliate Kinder Morgan Gas Natural de Mexico. The cost of the proposed border-crossing facilities has been estimated at $500,000.

The border crossing and Mexican pipeline projects initially were proposed in the mid 1990s by KN Energy, which was acquired by Kinder Morgan in 1999. Kinder Morgan Mexico already received authorization from Mexican regulators to proceed with construction of the 108-mile pipeline to Monterrey. Pemex-Gas y Petroquimica Basica (Pemex) will deliver the gas to customers in the Monterrey area. It will purchase the gas at the U.S.-Mexico border from MGI Supply Ltd.

Northwest Pipeline received a certificate for a much needed expansion of its north flow capacity by 175 MMcf/d in the Kemmerer corridor and by 191 MMcf/d in the Green River corridor. Both corridors have been significantly constrained. The project will include the addition of 91 miles of pipeline looping in six segments and the addition of 24,924 horsepower of compression through modifications at existing compressor stations.

Southern Natural received a certificate to install 114 miles of pipeline and additional compression on its mainline in Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia. The two-phase South System II expansion project will increase Sonat’s capacity by 330 MMcf/d. The $230 million South System II project will provide capacity for a new combined-cycle gas-fired unit of South Carolina Electric and Gas in Jasper County, SC, a combined-cycle power plant being built by Progress Energy in Effingham County, GA, and a Calpine cogeneration plant in Columbia, SC. The project is expected to be in service in May 2004.

Sonat placed the first of three expansion projects in service in July (see NGI, July 1). In total, the three projects will add 700 MMcf/d of new firm transportation capacity to its system by spring of 2004. The projects will serve mainly 5,500 MW of new gas-fired power generation in the Southeast. They will bring Sonat’s total firm transportation capacity to 3.4 Bcf/d.

SCANA Corp. subsidiary SCG Pipeline Inc. received a certificate for an 18-mile, 20-inch diameter gas pipeline in Georgia and South Carolina that would connect Southern LNG’s Elba Island liquefied natural gas import terminal near Savannah, GA, to a proposed power plant that would be built by SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas. The new pipeline would transport up to 190,000 Dth/d of gas from interconnections with Southern Natural Gas and the Elba Island import terminal to the proposed 875 MW natural gas-fired generation station in Jasper County, SC. The in-service date for the pipeline is November 2003.

The project also calls for SCANA to assume ownership of capacity on an existing Southern Natural pipeline that connects to the LNG facility, which resumed full operations in December 2001 after being out of service for about 20 years.

Northern Natural’s certificate gives it the go-ahead to proceed with minor modifications at facilities at its Beatrice Compressor Station in Gage County, NE, a project that will provide an additional 90 MMcf/d of downstream capacity on the constrained system. Approximately 33 MMcf/d of the capacity will be needed to meet the firm market requirements of shippers during the first year of service under Northern Natural’s planned Market Area expansion project (Project MAX), the order said [CP02-139].

Northern Natural said it plans to file an application at FERC for its Project MAX expansion, which it estimated will create an additional 137 MMcf/d of capacity for Project MAX shippers.

The remainder of the 90 MMcf/d of capacity will be posted on Northern Natural’s web site and made available to shippers on a non-discriminatory basis, the pipeline said. Northern Natural’s certificate requires the pipeline to complete the compressor project, which will cost an estimated $290,000, within one year.

The Commission deferred action on Northern Natural’s request for a waiver that would permit it to sell capacity created by the Beatrice Station project to non-Project MAX shippers until it is needed for Project MAX. While FERC found Northern Natural’s request to be “generally consistent” with existing Commission policy, it directed the pipeline to file tariff sheets within 15 days spelling out its proposal.

Lastly, FERC last week awarded Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line a preliminary determination on non-environmental issues for a looping and lateral project in New Jersey to serve local distribution and generation load.

Transco is seeking to build 7.17 miles of 36-inch pipeline looping on its existing Trenton Woodbury Line, creating 51,037 Dth/d of incremental firm transportation capacity for two existing shippers — Peco Energy Co., an LDC, and Virginia Power Energy Marketing Inc. (VAPEM), which will use the gas to fuel a new electric generating plant being constructed on behalf of Fairless Energy in Bucks County, PA. A proposed 2.48-mile lateral to be built by Transco will supply gas to the Fairless Energy plant.

Transco has targeted the Fairless Delivery Lateral for in-service on Aug. 1, 2003, and the Trenton Woodbury Expansion facilities for in-service on Nov. 1, 2003, according to the order [CP02-204]. It estimated the cost of the lateral at $13 million, and the cost of the expansion facilities at $19.6 million.

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