After endless complaints about the capacity problems on El Paso Natural Gas, FERC on Wednesday approved an uncontested settlement of the Order 637 issues on the pipeline, putting an end to the “very significant reliability concerns” and contract issues that wracked the system a few years ago.

Compliance with Order 637, which addressed second generational natural gas issues, “wasn’t even on the radar” for El Paso a couple of years back, said Commission Chairman Pat Wood. He said he was told that the capacity-short pipeline was a “totally different kettle of fish.”

“Firm service [on El Paso] is now dependable,” and the operational problems “have been largely solved,” he noted. Wood credited the FERC-initiated reforms, such as ordering the pipeline’s full-requirements (FR) shippers to convert to contract demand (CD) in September 2003, for the improved status on the El Paso Corp. pipeline.

By getting all of the El Paso shippers on the same service page, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission created a more equitable system for allocating capacity on the pipeline, putting an end to a long-standing dispute over capacity between the FR and CD shippers

“Quite frankly, I’d love to give them [El Paso] the credit, but they didn’t solve the problem. We had to solve it for them,” Wood said during Wednesday’s regular Commission meeting.

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