TransCanada filed a construction application at FERC in April for its Bison Pipeline, the latest entrant in the race to bring Rockies gas to eastern markets.
Bison would travel northeast 301 miles from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to the Northern Border Pipeline system in Morton County, ND. Northern Border is partly owned by TransCanada. The Northern Border system takes gas to Chicago and Ventura, IA.
Mark Yeomans, Bison’s project manager, tells P&GJ Bison’s competitive advantage is that it gets Rockies gas to Chicago without having to build a 1,000-mile pipeline from the Rockies going east. Bison helps TransCanada, too, some of whose gas basins in Canada are dwindling. Yeomans states that 407 MMcf/d of capacity is already subscribed for on Bison, a bit short of the pipeline’s 477 MMcf/d capacity. If FERC approves Bison, it would go into service Nov. 15, 2010. Yeomans says TC will have no trouble finding the $610 million needed to build the pipeline.
First, FERC has to approve Bison. Yeomans acknowledges some upstream and downstream competitors have filed what are called “motions to intervene.”
Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company is one of them. Keith A. Tiggelaar, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Williston Basin, says his company has not taken a position on Bison. “Bison could create business opportunities for us via an interconnection,” he states. But he acknowledges that Bison would also be a competitor to Williston Basin and could siphon off business.
Wyoming is pressing FERC hard to approve the pipeline. Gov. Dave Freudenthal wrote the commission that Bison would have “a substantial economic benefit to the state” by providing an outlet for expanding gas production in the Powder River Basin.