ANR Pipeline should not be allowed to significantly raise the pressure of its system at a Wisconsin interconnect with Northern Natural Gas when its West Leg looping and replacement project goes into service on Nov. 1, because it would prevent the lower-pressure Northern Natural system from delivering gas into ANR’s system, Northern Natural protested.

ANR in its original West Leg expansion application in 2002 specifically indicated that the pressures at the Janesville, WI, interconnect with Northern Natural would increase to 609 psig. “At this stated pressure, Northern can effectuate deliveries into ANR. There was no notice [in the application] that the operating pressures would change to such a degree that gas would be unable to flow at the interconnect,” the MidAmerican Energy pipeline subsidiary said in a complaint filed at FERC on Sept. 30.

Later, however, ANR alerted Northern Natural that when West Leg expansion goes into service ANR’s pressure will be between 650 to 750 psig with a maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of 975 psig, Northern said. At one point, ANR told Northern Natural that it would have to meet the MAOP of 975 psig, it noted.

On another occasion, in an August critical notice, ANR said it would be operating its pipeline system in and around the Janesville area during the winter season within a range of 600 to 800 psig, which “means that Northern’s pressure must, on certain occasions, exceed 800 psig in order for gas to flow through the interconnect,” Northern Natural said [RP04-616].

“Northern does not have the capability to consistently deliver volumes at the pressures necessary to overcome these higher pressures on ANR,” the pipeline told the Commission.

Northern Natural asked FERC to act quickly to resolve the issue of pressure at the Janesville interconnect, given that the winter heating season is fast approaching and shippers must finalize their supply portfolios. It noted that the Commission’s approval of the West Leg project was based on “inadequate facts” provided by ANR.

“ANR claims it is increasing pressures in order to serve its incremental shippers obtained through ANR’s West Leg expansion. However, the proposal to increase pressures was not made clear to Northern, Northern’s and ANR’s shippers, or the Commission in ANR’s West Leg expansion despite ANR’s knowledge that Northern lacks the facilities to effectuate deliveries into ANR at Janesville at the higher operating pressures,” Northern Natural said.

“ANR’s proposal to increase pressures will create two specific problems: 1) existing firm customers of Northern and ANR at the Janesville interconnect will suffer degradation of service; and 2) competition in the Wisconsin market will be limited, rather than enhanced as represented by ANR in [its] certificate proceeding.”

Through the Janesville interconnect, shippers in Wisconsin are able to access gas supplies from Canada and the lower 48 states, including Rocky Mountain gas, via Northern Natural’s pipeline. The Janesville interconnect provides an “economic alternative” to transporting gas on ANR’s interstate pipeline system, according to Northern Natural.

Northern Natural reports it has sold firm deliveries at Janesville of up to 139,000 Dth/d over the past nine years. Of that, the pipeline currently delivers 52,137 Dth/d to ANR, with service to terminate on Oct. 31. Because of the 26-mile, 30-inch diameter West Leg loop, ANR said it would no longer need to purchase firm transportation service on Northern Natural, which ANR had used as an operational loop of its system.

Given the “uncertainty as to the operation of the [Janesville] interconnect, the capacity posted as a result of the termination of ANR’s contract has not been sold because no shipper has been willing to purchase such firm capacity. ANR has also advised Northern that it will not confirm nominations from primary firm shippers at the Janesville interconnect if it does not believe Northern can deliver into ANR’s system at the new imposed operating pressures. Further, [BP Canada Energy Marketing Corp.] is unable to determine if it should extend its capacity that is currently in the [right-of-first-refusal) process. As a result, Northern’s shippers are [being] denied the ability to have gas delivered into Wisconsin markets and ANR’s shippers are denied competitive alternatives.”

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