Sempra Energy Trading has filed for a permit with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to develop a natural gas storage facility in St. Clair. In conjunction with the permit application, the company also has launched an open season for the 27 Bcf facility, named Bluewater Gas Storage LLC, that will extend through June 30. The company expects commercial operation to begin in April 2004.

“With the current high demand for natural gas in the North American markets and projected shortfalls in long-term supply, storage facilities will play an increasingly important role in ensuring reliability during peak-demand periods,” said David Messer, president of Sempra Energy Trading. “The strategic location near critical pipelines will make Bluewater Gas Storage a valuable asset in our portfolio to help serve our customers.”

Current plans call for the facility to be constructed atop Columbus III field, a depleted oil and gas reservoir, which is one of the last remaining in Michigan not to have been converted into a gas storage facility. Sempra believes the site is perfect because it is located near six natural gas pipelines and has a storage capacity of 27 Bcf.

Messer noted that 75% of Michigan’s peak winter demand is currently met by stored gas. He added that the company will tailor its storage offerings to fit the interests expressed in the open season process. When complete, the facility will be capable of delivering up to 700 MMcf/d.

Pending MPSC approval, Sempra has slated construction for the summer of 2003. Interested parties should contact Laura Luce at (203) 355-5068, or

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