Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced that it has suspended its open season for additional intrastate pipeline capacity that was scheduled to close Aug. 30. The California utility said it made the decision not to go forward with the open season at this time while conducting a corporate-wide review related to its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

PG&E emphasized that the open season was being deferred, not canceled, and that shippers would have a minimum of 30 days to prepare bids for service when it resumed.

“I don’t want to say that we were premature in beginning the open season,” said PG&E spokeswoman Christy Dennis, who noted that the company simply “has pulled back for the moment” due to the “huge reorganization process” related to the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Shippers shouldn’t view this as a “huge red flag” on the project.

Dennis could not cite a specific date when the open season would resume, but she said “it should be reinstituted probably within the next few months.” Shippers will be notified then, she noted.

The utility first announced the open season in late May, saying that it planned to offer more than 1.2 Bcf/d of backbone capacity on the Redwood, Baja and Silverado paths on which gas from Malin, OR; Topock, AZ, and California in-state gas production is delivered to PG&E’s local transmission system and other pipelines. Included in the open season was an anticipated 200 MMcf/d expansion of the Redwood path from Malin.

The open season initially was to have closed on July 31, but PG&E extended it until Aug. 30. The utility, which currently transports more than 3 Bcf/d of gas in central and northern California, projected that the additional in-state pipeline capacity would be in service by Jan. 1, 2003, but the open season suspension could very well push back the date.

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