FERC on Tuesday approved the sale of a section of Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline and associated facilities in West Virginia and Kentucky to unaffiliated producer Columbia Natural Resources LLC (CNR) for an estimated $4.4 million. The agency also accepted a request to declare the facilities gathering in nature and exempt from FERC jurisdiction.

The transaction includes 43.62 miles of transmission pipeline that begins in Mingo County, WV, and proceeds in a northwesterly direction through Martin and Lawrence Counties in Kentucky, as well as two compressor stations and associated facilities.

Columbia, a NiSource Inc. pipeline, said the so-called Kermit facilities were no longer integral to its pipeline system. Columbia said that in the past it used the facilities to backfeed natural gas from its interstate pipelines to area markets when demand exceeded local production. However, with local production now outstripping the demand requirements of the area market, it said it no longer needed to backfeed natural gas from its transmission system into the Kermit facilities.

Columbia Gas Transmission noted that service to existing firm transportation customers on the Kermit facilities would not be interrupted by the sale to the Charleston, WV-based producer.

CNR, a Triana Energy Co. subsidiary, is considered one of the leading producers in the East. It has 1.2 Tcf of proved natural gas reserves, making it one of the top 25 reserve holders in the United States. It also operates more than 6,400 miles of gathering pipeline, serving more than 200 producers throughout West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia.

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