Staton said on Monday, "In total, over the first six years of our modernization program, Columbia will invest close to three-quarters of a billion dollars in safety and reliability related improvement projects in West Virginia alone.
"A recent economic analysis of our program estimates that modernization will result in more than $1.1 billion in economic output in the state, including the creation or support of approximately 1,700 total jobs at the peak of our program in 2016 ranging from engineering to construction services," he said.
NiSource spokesman Karl Brack has pointed out that regardless of where the projects take place, much of the engineering, planning, purchasing and project management work will occur at the company's offices in Charleston.
NiSource has about 590 employees in West Virginia. Many work out of the Columbia Gas office tower at 1700 MacCorkle Ave. S.E., next to Frontier Communications' regional headquarters.
Staton said, "In addition to private economic activity, our modernization investment is anticipated to generate approximately $80 million in new revenue for the state of West Virginia and its units of local government. Most importantly, our work in the state will make our systems safer and more reliable."
Columbia's plan was formulated long before last month's rupture of a 20-inch gas transmission line near Sissonville. The rupture triggered a massive fire that destroyed four homes and charred a section of Interstate 77. No one was seriously injured.
Staton discussed the company's plan on Monday during Rockefeller's field hearing on pipeline safety.
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.