Pipeline inching closer to certificate


SALEM, Ohio — Partners of the Independence Pipeline Company say they’ve met the market condition stipulations placed on the pipeline project by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Now it’s up to FERC to determine whether or not the marketing contracts meet the commission’s criteria — and whether or not to issue a certificate to let the project move forward.

In an unusual interim order issued last December, FERC said it would approve the pipeline project, but not until the partners had adequately proven a market need in the Northeast for the natural gas.

Independence Pipeline and ANR Pipeline Company’s joint SupplyLink project had to show FERC contracts for about 70 percent of capacity, of which 35 percent had to be with nonaffiliates, before a certificate would be issued.

“We filed what they asked us to file and now it’s up to them,” said Joe Martucci, manager of corporate communications for ANR Pipeline.A certificate gives the pipeline project the green light for construction, subject to the other stringent conditions FERC detailed in December.

FERC spokesman Tamara Young-Allen said the commissioners are reviewing the nearly 60-page filing, but there is no timetable for action on the filing.

The item was not on the agenda for discussion at the commission’s June 28, 2000, meeting. The commission meets again July 12 and July 26.

“The ball’s in our court,” Young-Allen said. “If the filing meets our criteria, a certificate will be issued.”

FERC has ordered pipeline partners to comply with the most extensive environmental requirements ever imposed on a pipeline project, including posting a $1 million environmental restoration bond.

Project spokesman Martucci said the pipeline companies have taken the steps to meet what criteria they can at this point in time, including hiring an ombudsman to respond to landowners’ concerns.

“The bottom line is that this is a big step, but we’ve got a ways to go,” Martucci said.

If a certificate is issued, Martucci said the pipeline’s proposed in-service date is December 2002.

Independence Pipeline Company is a partnership by The Coastal Corporation’s ANR Pipeline Company, Williams’ Transco pipeline, and National Fuel Gas Company.

The proposed $677.9 million pipeline will stretch 400 miles from ANR’s existing compressor station in Defiance, Ohio, across northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania to Transco-National Fuel facilities in Leidy, Pa.


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