Although FERC staff shot down the Atlantic Alliance projecttwice as an alternative to both Independence and Millennium, it didnot deter project planners from moving forward with an open season.

El Paso Energy’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Consolidated NaturalGas’ CNG Transmission are evaluating results from the AtlanticAlliance Project open season, which closed Nov. 30. The projectwould move up to 750,000 Dth/d from Chicago and the Niagara ImportPoint to developing markets in the Northeast.

The backers also changed their project’s name to avoid confusionwith the Alliance Pipeline. The new name is Atlantic Advantage.

The project was unveiled in late July and would include accessto Transco and the proposed MarketLink Project at Leidy, PA, and toColumbia and the proposed Millennium Project at Horseheads andGreenwood, NY. Capacity would be phased in as needed on Tennessee’sand CNG’s existing systems by adding limited facilities alongexisting rights-of-way.

Competitors, in part, are greenfield projects Independence (ANRPipeline, National Fuel Gas Supply and Transco), and Millennium(Columbia Gas Transmission, TransCanada PipeLines, Westcoast Energyand MCN Energy Group), and the Spectrum program (Texas EasternTransmission, a Duke Energy affiliate), which would make use ofexisting capacity.

CNG has claimed no market exists to support Northeast-boundIndependence and Millennium. But CNG, which views its proposal as”economically and environmentally superior” to the Independence andMillennium greenfield projects, said Atlantic Advantage does notsignal a departure from previous views on Northeast market growth.”In fact, this project represents a reasonable way to accommodatemarket growth while encouraging the efficient use of the existingpipeline grid,” it earlier told FERC.

After alternatives to Independence proposed by CNG and Tennesseewere rejected, CNG proposed a “combined alternative” that would useexisting and projected turnback capacity, combined with a smallexpansion of its system, to provide 1.6 Bcf/d of capacity toeastern markets. FERC rejected this outright. “Again, we cannotrecommend this alternative as a viable alternative because it hasnot been completely defined by CNG.”

Independence has won final environmental clearance, and is onthe FERC’s docket for a vote this week, but it still faces stiffopposition from New Jersey politicians. (See related story, thisissue).

Joe Fisher, Houston

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