FERC last week gave the go-ahead for a mostly compressionupgrade that would add 315,218 Dth/d to Columbia Gulf Transmission,restoring its system to its original certificated capacity leveland then some.

Columbia Gulf’s Mainline ’99 Project – the first mainlineexpansion for the pipe in 30 years – was partly in response to a1997 order approving a consent agreement that capped off a FERCinvestigation into whether the pipeline lowered its system capacitybelow its certificated level without Commission authorization. Theerosion in the pipeline’s certificated capacity was attributed tothe deteriorated nature of its facilities.

Columbia Gulf sought, and FERC granted, authority to add 218,000Dth/d to return its system to its original certificated capacity of2.1 MMDth/d, plus another 96,555 Dth/d. This would elevate itscertificated capacity to a new level of about 2.2 MMDth/d. TheCommission approved the project over the objections of someColumbia Gulf shippers, who argued the pipeline’s applicationraised issues related to the controversial consent agreement andColumbia Gulf’s restructuring proceeding.

The added capacity would be brought about by replacingcompressor units at Columbia Gulf’s Corinth Compressor Station inAlcorn County, MS; Iverness Compressor Station in Humphreys County,MS; and Hampshire Compressor Station in Maury County, TN, withlarger units over the next two years. As a result, compressionhorsepower at the Corinth station would rise to 49,982 hp from44,750 hp; Iverness station, 45,832 hp from 38,100 hp; and theHampshire station, 43,100 hp from 40,050 hp. The compressor unitsbeing replaced were installed in the 1960s, said Robert Kaiser, aColumbia Gulf spokesman in Houston.

The pipeline said 18 shippers already have requested 270,334Dth/d of the new firm transportation service beginning Dec. 1,1999, and an additional 44,884 Dth/d of firm service starting Nov.1, 2000.

The cost of the compression expansion has been estimated at$37.6 million. FERC granted Columbia Gulf permission to roll in theconstruction costs into its existing rate base in its next Section4 rate proceeding, “provided there is no significant change in thecircumstances underlying the Commission’s decision in thiscertificate proceeding.”

Susan Parker

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