Transportation news briefs, Sept. 4

Iran � Turkey � Duke Energy Gas Transmission � NiSource � Williams � Gateway Offshore Pipeline � Houston Exploration � Buccaneer Gas Pipeline � US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The Iran-Turkey gas pipeline will be commissioned next year, said Turkish Minister of State for Economic Affairs Recep Unal last week. Unal expressed the desire for the expansion of ties between the two countries. Also, the Turkish side asked for a follow-up report on the feasibility of transmitting electricity from Iran to Turkey. The two sides discussed joint cooperation in, among other things, the transit of goods between the two countries and their customs arrangements.

Duke Energy Gas Transmission Corp. has agreed to purchase the natural gas salt cavern storage business commonly known as Market Hub Partners from subsidiaries of NiSource Inc. for $250 million in cash plus the assumption of $150 million in debt. The business has 23 bcf of storage capacity. The present storage facilities are in Liberty County, Tex., and in Acadia Parish, La. MHP is also developing salt cavern storage facilities in Copiah County, Miss., and Tioga County, Pa. The stock purchase is expected to close later this year, pending US Federal Trade Commission approval.

A unit of Williams said it is holding an open season Aug. 31-Sept. 29 for shippers interested in incremental annual firm transportation service created by the Momentum Expansion Project. Momentum is a proposed expansion of the Transco pipeline system from Louisiana to Virginia designed to meet increasing natural gas demand in the southeastern United States. The project is anticipated to be in service by May 1, 2003.

Gateway Energy Corp. affiliate Gateway Offshore Pipeline Co. has entered into agreements with Houston Exploration Co. to transport the crude oil, natural gas, and condensate produced from Houston Exploration's Galveston Block 190-L lease off Texas through Gateway's Pirates' Beach Gathering System to a separation and dehydration facility located on Galveston Island. Gateway has also agreed to transport natural gas and condensate from Houston Exploration's Galveston Block 144-L lease through its Shipwreck Gathering System to Gateway Offshore's Crystal Beach terminal facility near Galveston. Production from the blocks is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Buccaneer Gas Pipeline LLC, a joint pipeline development between Duke Energy Corp. and Williams, announced the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has concluded in a draft environmental impact statement that the construction and operation of Buccaneer's proposed facilities with the adoption of recommended mitigation measures would have limited adverse environmental impact and would be an environmentally acceptable action. Buccaneer expects to receive a final EIS and a final certificate from FERC later this year. The Buccaneer Gas Pipeline will stretch about 674 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, transporting natural gas from the offshore Alabama area to Florida.

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