A pipeline-commissioned study that says the producer share ofthe offshore pipeline industry is on the upswing and that increasedrate and tariff flexibility from FERC largely are responsible forthe phenomenon drew the wrath of producers last week.
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Atlanta Gas Light’s plea for limited waivers of FERC’scapacity-release regulations and other rules has drawn a howl ofprotests from producers. The Georgia-based LDC is seeking thewaivers to “facilitate” its application to unbundle itsdistribution services, which currently is pending before thestate’s Public Service Commission.
The Canadian Province of Nova Scotia told FERC it is concernedit could loose royalty revenue and pay higher rates on theMaritimes and Northeast pipeline as a result of Maritimes recentrequest to defer Phase I pipeline construction costs and servicefor one year. Maritimes told FERC last month its only Phase Ishipper, affiliate Duke Energy, exercised a provision in itscontract with the pipeline allowing it to defer using its firmtransportation on the line by a year.
Aquila Energy has won a long-term, $24.3 million contract tosupply gas to to Nebraska municipals under a pre-paid contractdriven by the current low interest rates. Aquila will supply14,419,850 MMBtu over 10 years to Energy America, which isaffiliated with the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, the MunicipalEnergy Agency of Nebraska and the Nebraska Public Gas Agency.
The way FERC figures pass-through of costs in oil pipeline ratecases could hamper future use of converted lines, according toCommissioner Linda T. Key Breathitt, who issued dissenting opinionsin two oil pipeline cases involving Rio Grande and LonghornPartners Pipelines [OR97-1-001 and OR95-7]. In both cases theCommission ruled that the companies would not be allowed to passthrough the full purchase price of the pipelines, only thedepreciated original cost of the line. “In an area where Congresshas asked us to exercise regulatory restraint we turn around andapply textbook principles in a manner that may discourage futureconversions of oil pipelines to new uses,” Breathitt said. Theorders examine the corporate relationships between the companies toarrive at the conclusion that the companies are selling assets tothemselves. But Breathitt believes arguments about corporate tiesin these cases don’t apply. She was joined by Commissioner CurtHebert.