Gill Ranch Storage LLC, which is being jointly developed by Northwest Natural Gas and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), announced last Monday it will hold an open season through Dec. 14 to test the market’s interest in a high-deliverability storage facility that it proposes to build in central California.

The storage project would be located on private property along the northern edge of the San Joaquin River in Madera County, CA, approximately 20 miles west of Fresno (see NGI, Oct. 1). Plans call for the facility to provide up to 15 Bcf of initial working gas capacity and offer storage services at market-based rates, said Gill Ranch Storage, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwest Natural. It said the proposed storage facility has significant expansion potential beyond 15 Bcf.

Gill Ranch would interconnect with PG&E’s Line 401 via a 25-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline and would be located near four interstate pipelines as well as Southern California Gas, according to the company. The four interstate pipes include Kern River Gas Transmission, El Paso Natural Gas, Transwestern and Questar Pipeline.

The facility is being designed to provide 485,000 Dth/d of withdrawal capacity and 195,000 Dth/d of injection capacity, providing customers with the ability to cycle their inventory three times per year, Gill Ranch said.

The company said it will seek approval to build the storage facility from the California Public Utilities Commission in the spring 2008, and will request market-based rate authority. It anticipates the approval process will take approximately one year. The company noted it will begin negotiation of binding precedent agreements with interested parties during 2008.

If necessary, Gill Ranch said it may hold a second binding open season in the first quarter of 2009, prior to the start of construction. The storage project is targeted for in-service in the third quarter of 2010.

For further information on the project and open season, contact Denny Henderson at (503) 220-2365 or fax Gill Ranch at (503) 220-2586.

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