Transportation news briefs, June 21

France's National Assembly � Northern Border Pipeline � Williams Gas Pipeline � Cove Point LNG

France's National Assembly has unanimously adopted a draft law to bolster control of tanker degassing operations in France's harbors. Degassing at sea causes heavy pollution. The new law, which comes into force July 1, makes it compulsory for vessels to deposit their waste and shipment residues into existing facilities before leaving the harbor. A related new law reinforces the sanctions directed at ship captains who wash out their tanks offshore.

Northern Border Pipeline Co. announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement in principle with the majority of its customers and the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to settle its pending rate case. Terms of the settlement are confidential until a stipulation and agreement is filed with FERC for approval. Based upon the agreement in principle, the procedural schedule in the rate case proceeding has been suspended for 60 days. Northern Border Pipeline owns and operates a 1,214-mile interstate pipeline that transports nearly one quarter of all Canadian gas imported into the US.

Williams Gas Pipeline has completed its previously announced acquisition of Cove Point LNG LP from affiliates of Columbia Energy Group for $150 million (OGJ Online, June 11, 2000). The Lusby, Md.-based Cove Point facility has a sendout capacity of 1 bcf/day. Williams plans to connect the facility to its existing Transcontinental Gas Pipeline. Cove Point's 87-mile system crosses Transco but isn't connected with it. A recent open season for firm LNG tanker discharging service at Cove Point resulted in executed binding precedent agreements for 750 MMcfd to accommodate new LNG imports. This includes expanding the total LNG storage capacity to 7.5 bcf from 5 bcf. The facility also has a liquefaction capacity of 15 MMcfd. The purchase includes 87 miles of 36-in. pipe interconnected with the Columbia Gas, Consolidated Natural Gas, and Washington Gas Light systems.

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