Duke unit seeks FERC approval of $289 million Patriot project

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 30, 2001 – A unit of Duke Energy Inc. Monday said it filed plans with federal regulators to build the $289 million Patriot extension and an expansion of an existing pipeline that will bring gas to parts of southeast Virginia for the first time.

Duke Energy Gas Transmission (DEGT) reported its East Tennessee Natural Gas (ETNG) subsidiary has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking approval of the Patriot project and expansion of the company’s existing ETNG system.

Seven natural gas shippers, representing electric power generators, marketers, and local distribution companies, committed to 87%, or 446 MMcfd, of delivery capacity under long-term contracts–more than double the 200 MMcfd envisioned when the project was announced last October, Duke reported.

ETNG is asking FERC for a preliminary determination by Nov. 15 and a final certificate by Mar. 27, 2002. The schedule will allow ETNG to begin construction in July 2002 to meet the initial May 1, 2003, in-service date, the company said. Once approved by FERC, the proposed Patriot project will evolve in three phases, initially having the capacity to transport 130 MMcfd, increasing to 310 MMcfd in November 2003, and eventually transporting 510 MMcfd in January 2004.

DEGT Pres. Robert B. Evans said the May 2003 initial in-service date and incremental phasing reflects the company’s flexibility in serving customers’ needs. Completing the loop of the southern mainline leg, adding compression to the northern portion in Tennessee, and adding large diameter looping in Virginia will considerably enhance the system’s reliability, he said.

The 94-mile Patriot extension from Virginia to North Carolina will bring natural gas service to southwest Virginia for the first time and introduce a competitive supply of natural gas to North Carolina from Appalachian and Gulf Coast producers, Duke said. It will be served by a salt cavern natural gas storage facility in Saltville, Va., being jointly developed by DEGT and NUI Corp., Bedminster, NJ.

The new 24-in. line will originate from the ETNG system in Wythe County, Va., cross Carroll, Patrick, and Henry counties in Virginia and terminate in Rockingham County, NC. About 7 miles of a lateral pipeline will originate in Rockingham County, cross Pittsylvania County, Va., and end in Henry County, Va.

Expansion of the existing ETNG line, primarily in Tennessee and a portion of southwest Virginia, includes construction of about 85 miles of new 20-in. and 24-in. loops; about 25 miles of 24-in. pipeline relays to replace existing 8-in. pipeline; 77 miles of uprates; 5 new compressor stations; added compression at 6 existing compressor stations; and associated mainline valves, piping, and appurtenant pipeline facilities.


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