While it ponders — based on open season results — building alarger project than originally intended, Georgia Strait CrossingPipeline Ltd. filed a preliminary environmental scoping submissionwith Canada’s National Energy Board to build and the planned gaspipeline to Vancouver Island. The company expects to file anapplication with the NEB this fall.

The project is a joint undertaking by British Columbia Hydro andPower Authority (BC Hydro) and Williams Gas Pipeline Co. “Becausepart of the pipeline will be offshore, it will require acomprehensive study under the Canadian Environmental AssessmentAct,” said NEB spokesman Ross Hicks. “That’s why they have sentthis preliminary submission to us.”

The pipeline would transport gas from Sumas, WA, acrossWashington State and then across the ocean floor of Georgia Straitto one of several potential landfalls between Mill Bay and CowichanBay on Vancouver Island.

The company says in its submission that the existing gaspipeline linking Vancouver Island to the British Columbia mainland,operated by Centra Gas British Columbia, is reaching capacity. TheGeorgia Strait Crossing would provide gas to new generating plantsand meet future residential and commercial heating requirements onVancouver Island.

The Canadian portion of the project would originate at a pointon the international border in Boundary Pass, Strait of Georgia,and interconnect with the existing Centra transmission system at apoint south of Duncan, BC. The Canadian portion would be about 31miles long with about 23 miles offshore and eight miles onshore.The 16-inch pipe would move 100 MMcf/d and be in service November2002. The Canadian facilities are expected to cost $57 million.

A Williams pipeline unit said in February it had receivednon-binding interest for capacity of about 190 MMcf/d on GeorgiaStrait.

“We have recently completed engineering design, taking intoaccount the outcome of the open season for the 190 MMcf/d ofexpressions of interest we have,” said Hank Henri, Georgia Strait’shead of business development. “We would like to capture that entire[190 MMcf/d] market. In this open season process it just depends onwho does eventually execute the binding agreements. What thatnumber is we really can’t estimate at this point in time.” GeorgiaStrait also is in the process of reviewing rates for a largerproject.

“We had discussions prior to the open season that weren’tnecessarily linked to our project, but I would say we weren’tsurprised with the results of the open season. We were pleased butnot surprised.”

Joe Fisher, Houston

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