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Northern Natural pitches Northern Lights 2021 to serve winter peak-day needs


Scaled-back proposal scraps some segments of pipe

Continuation of multi-year expansion

Washington — Berkshire Hathaway Energy's Northern Natural Gas has proposed a scaled-down version of its Northern Lights 2021 natural gas pipeline expansion, meant to keep up with needs of several existing customers and providing 45,693 Dt/d of incremental winter peak-day service.

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The proposal is a continuation of the pipeline company's broader Northern Lights project, which it describes as a multi-year commitment to expand its market-area capacity in response to customers' growth requirements through 2026.

In the application posted on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's website Aug. 1, Northern Natural said contract extensions and growth commitments under the Northern Light expansions were critical in preventing a major bypass of Northern's system by some customers. In the absence of the extension agreements with customers CenterPoint Energy Resources, Xcel, and Flint Hills Resources, a bypass would have translated to a loss of about 1 Bcf/d of their existing winter maximum daily quantity, Northern Natural told FERC.

The proposed Northern Lights 2021 Expansion (CP20-503) entails an 11,153 hp greenfield compressor station in Pine County, Minnesota, additional compression at the Pierz compressor station in Morrison County, modifications to the Pierz interconnect, and a pipeline loop and extension totaling 1.43 miles as well as replacement of 0.08 of an 8-inch-diameter pipeline with 12-inch-diameter pipeline and changes, all in Minnesota.

The proposal is scaled back from the November 2019 plan put forward during a prefiling review at FERC that pitched more than eight miles of 30-inch-diameter and 36-inch-diameter mainline loops and extensions, and over 13 miles of branch line loops and extensions.

Market needs

Shippers for the project total an aggregated incremental peak winter entitlement of 45,693 Dt/d, the application said; 34,880 Dt/d by CenterPoint, 9,459 Dt/d by Northern States Power and 1,354 Dt/d by Midwest Natural Gas. The project would meet energy demands for industrial, commercial, and residential use, the application said.

Northern Natural sought FERC approval no later than March 16, 2021, to allow the facilities to be placed into service by Nov. 1, 2021.

It said an analysis of the financial support of the $57.4 million project must include the value of retaining the underlying volumes that would have been lost as a result of a bypass of Northern Natural's system by several existing customers had it not entered into customer agreements.

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