CHARLESTON, W.Va. - NiSource's Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline modernization plan includes more than $138 million in projects across West Virginia.
Jimmy Staton, executive vice president and group chief executive officer of NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage, said at Sen. Jay Rockefeller's Senate Commerce Committee's field hearing on Monday that system improvements include:
* $38 million in upgrades to numerous older transmission pipelines in the company's so-called WB Pipeline system. The upgrades will accommodate in-line inspection equipment known as "smart pigs." The project involves 26-inch and 36-inch pipelines that run across central West Virginia, delivering natural gas to eastern markets.
"Upgrading this system to accommodate today's latest safety technology will not only allow for enhanced integrity assessment, but it will also greatly improve the efficiency and reliability of the pipeline," Staton said.
* $100 million to upgrade compressor stations near Frametown, Seneca Rocks and Mathias.
Company spokeswoman Chevalier Mayes said the upgrades will involve replacing aging turbine and reciprocating engines.
Staton said, "Work at the stations will improve compressor horsepower, dramatically improve emissions performance, and result in a significant reduction in fuel consumption."
According to a NiSource filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, "Each of these facilities has antiquated horsepower that is not considered fuel efficient and may not comply with emerging air emissions requirements."
NiSource is the corporate parent of Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. The company received federal approval last week for its plan to invest $300 million a year over each of the next five years to upgrade its pipeline system.