Transportation news briefs, Sept. 7

Alliance Pipeline � Polar Tankers � Litton/Avondale Industries � Mobil Canada � Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline

Alliance Pipeline LP says the first shipments of natural gas will move on its line from northeastern British Colombia to the Chicago market today. Small volumes of 50-100 MMcfd are being moved as part of the testing and commissioning process for the line, which will have capacity of 1.3 bcfd of gas. Alliance Pipeline has selected October 30, 2000, as its commercial in-service date.

Polar Tankers Inc., Long Beach, Calif., announced Monday that Litton/Avondale Industries Inc. of New Orleans has laid the keel of the M/V Polar Discovery, the third Millennium-class tanker being built to carry crude oil from Alaska to the US West Coast. These double-hulled tankers are built specifically for the Alaskan trade, in compliance with the US Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Polar said, adding that the tankers cost $150 million apiece to build. The Polar Discovery's tanks will hold just over 1 million bbl of cargo at full capacity. The tanker will be delivered in late 2002. The first of the Millennium-class tankers, the Polar Endeavor, will enter the Alaska trade in early 2001, Polar said. Polar Tankers is the shipping unit of Phillips Petroleum Co. subsidiary Phillips Alaska Inc.

A Nova Scotia judge has ruled in favor of Mobil Canada Ltd. in a billing dispute with Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. Justice Robert Wright of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled Mobil mounted a bona fide defense to the pipeline company�s application for a summary judgment of $3.3 million (Can.). Maritimes & Northeast operates a natural gas pipeline from Nova Scotia, where Mobil is lead partner in the Sable offshore gas project, to New England markets. The pipeline said that it agreed to reserve space on the line for Mobil in exchange for a monthly service charge, and that it advised Mobil the service start date would be Dec. 1, 1999. It said Mobil refused to pay reservation charges from Dec. 1 to Dec. 21. Mobil said the agreement wasn�t valid and that the pipeline did not provide the service set out in its contract.

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