Southern California Gas latest to enter pipeline derby

Southern California Gas Co., a unit of Sempra Energy, plans to boost its California pipeline capacity by another 200 MMcfd of gas to supply surging demand by electric generating plants. In the past 2 months, units of Enron Corp., Williams, El Paso Corp., Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., Questar Corp., Calpine Corp., and Kinder Morgan Inc. have announced gas pipeline projects to serve California.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 15 -- Southern California Gas Co., a unit of Sempra Energy, plans to boost its California pipeline capacity by another 200 MMcfd of gas to supply surging demand from electric generating plants.

Over the past 9 months, Southern California Gas (SCG) said utilization of the intrastate transmission system has increased to more than 95% from 75%, primarily due to the increase in number of gas-fired power plants. Since April 1999, California regulators have approved 13 major gas-fired power plant projects with combined generation capacity of 8,900 Mw. Nine projects totaling 6,000 Mw are under construction.

SCG Tuesday reported it will construct a 32-mile pipeline link to the Kern-Mojave pipeline. Completion of the project, referred to as the Kramer Junction Interconnect, is expected by yearend.

Combined with a proposed expansion reported earlier, SCG said it will boost capacity by a total of 11%. Previously, the company said it would modify parts of its transportation system to add 175 MMcfd, a 5% increase, by winter. Those efforts are now under way.

SCG Chairman Edwin A. Guiles said the company looked at various alternatives, but the Kramer expansion is the quickest way to get the added capacity in place. Alternatives at other delivery points likely would take at least 2 years to complete, he said.

The Kramer expansion will provide a connection between the company's existing Adelanto compressor station and the Kern-Mojave pipeline near Kramer Junction, in western San Bernardino County.

The project will be installed adjacent to the existing utility corridor, the company said. Supply on the Kramer expansion at Adelanto will be transported both south and west through SCG's existing transmission facilities.

Pipeline capacity in southern California has been tight for 2 years. El Paso Corp.'s large interstate pipelines bring gas from producing regions to a point on the border called Topock. But the ability of pipelines to take the gas for distribution within California has been constrained.

Pipeline companies have rushed to fill a perceived void. In the past 2 months, units of Enron Corp., Williams, El Paso Corp., Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., Questar Corp., Calpine Corp., and Kinder Morgan Inc. have announced gas pipeline projects to serve California.

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