Gas from NW Natural’s underground storage facility began flowinginto the company’s new Mist III Pipeline in Mist, OR. The24-inch-diameter pipe allows the company to provide more gas to thegrowing Washington County area. The $35 million pipeline runsparallel a 16-inch line built in the late 1980s to connect the Mistgas storage field to the company’s distribution system.

NW Natural has been developing gas storage in northwest Oregonfor 20 years. Construction on Mist III pipeline began in June.Expansion of the storage facility was recently completed and adds 2Bcf for a total working capacity of 10.5 Bcf, a spokesman said.With Mist III up and running, total storage withdrawal capacityinto Portland grows from 130 MMcf/d by an additional 150 to 190MMcf/d for a total of 280 to 320 MMcf/d.

“We were working on a very tight time frame to get the projectdone in time for the 1999-2000 heating season,” said CharlieStinson, NW Natural project manager. “At the same time, we neededto take special precautions to comply with stringent environmentalregulations. The goal was to complete the project with only minimaland temporary environmental impact, and to restore it afterwards toits original use.”

The pipeline crossed 42 streams and 50 wetlands. Workers useddirectional drilling in many cases.

Now work begins on the future phases of the project: Mist PhaseIV and V. In early October, NW Natural filed a Notice of Intentwith the Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) to build a 52-milelong, 24-inch diameter gas pipeline from the end of the Mist IIIpipeline near North Plains, OR, to the Williams Gas Pipeline inMolalla, OR. Mist IV would grow storage withdrawal capacity to 425MMcf/d. Mist IV could be in service in 2002.

The filing starts a 2 «-year process that begins with studies ofthe proposed route. Next spring, NW Natural will begin a detailedstudy of the half-mile wide corridor to identify a specific routefor construction.

The Mist facility is operated only for customers of NW Natural,which serves 488,000 residential, commercial and industrialcustomers in western Oregon and southwestern Washington State.

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