The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday gave Columbia Gas Transmission LLC the green light to place into service part of the proposed expansion of its Ohio storage facilities.

The NiSource Inc. pipeline subsidiary was cleared to begin service at nine new storage wells and seven well lines at the Crawford storage site about 45 miles south of Columbus, OH. FERC did not authorize service for two other wells and six well lines. “We will authorize these facilities once we receive documentation that restoration is proceeding satisfactorily,” the letter order said [CP08-431].

So far Columbia has drilled 11 of 19 new wells that it plans for the Crawford site, said spokesman Kelly Merritt. The Crawford expansion will increase the working gas capacity of Columbia’s Ohio storage facilities by 3 Bcf (see Daily GPI, March 20).

Beginning this month Columbia plans to begin work on an expansion of its Weaver storage field about 50 miles northeast of Columbus, OH. The pipeline plans to rework 20 existing wells and do some pipeline construction, Merritt said. The expansion of the Weaver site would add 3.7 Bcf of storage capacity.

Both the Crawford and Weaver storage expansions are targeted for service by November, he said. The combined deliverability from Weaver and Crawford fields will be increased by 100 MMcf/d.

The expansion represents an approximately 2.5% increase in the company’s working storage capacity in Ohio. It would be used to meet growing demand for gas and transportation services in its Mid-Atlantic markets, said Columbia.

Washington Gas Light has signed up for 58% of the expansion capacity, Columbia said, under a precedent agreement for 60,000 Dth/d of deliverability and 4 million Dth of storage capacity.

While the storage expansion was not precipitated by the Rockies Express Pipeline, the Columbia facilities would provide storage capacity for natural gas transported from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast, Merritt said.

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