Sierra Pacific Resources announced plans Monday to explore opportunities to sell its 50% interest in the Tuscarora Gas Transmission pipeline in order to concentrate more fully on its utility businesses in Nevada.

The Reno, NV-based energy company and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. jointly own the 240-mile natural gas pipeline that runs in a southeasterly direction from a point of interconnection with the facilities of Gas Transmission Northwest Corp. near Malin, OR, to a terminus near Wadsworth, NV, where Tuscarora interconnects with Paiute Pipeline. Sierra Pacific Resources is operator of the Tuscarora pipeline system that serves the northern Nevada and northeastern California gas markets. The pipeline has been in operation since December 1995, and has a capacity of 193,000 Dth/d.

The Tuscarora pipeline connects to a hub of western gas pipelines, providing access to Canadian gas reserves located in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, one of the largest gas reserve basins in North America.

Sierra Pacific Resources said it decided to sell its interest in Tuscarora to focus more fully on its rapidly growing utility businesses. These include Sierra Pacific Power Co., which serves most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California, and Nevada Power Co., which caters to most of southern Nevada. The two utilities serve approximately 1.3 million customers. Sierra Pacific Power also distributes natural gas to customers in the Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada.

Lazard Freres & Co. LLC is advising Sierra Pacific Resources on the potential sale, which the company hopes to complete by year-end.

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