El Paso Starts Blue Atlantic Development Study

El Paso Corporation is beginning the engineering studies for the Blue Atlantic Transmission System, a major pipeline project designed to transport new natural gas supplies off the coast of Nova Scotia to markets in eastern Canada and the Northeastern region of the United States. The company has developed a coalition of technical expertise from Canada and the United States to address the specific design and technology issues involved in constructing the proposed 750-mile, 36-inch offshore pipeline designed to carry up to 1 billion cubic feet (1,000 dekatherms) of natural gas per day.

Leading this effort on behalf of El Paso is Willbros Engineers, Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Willbros will provide overall project management services to assist in the siting and design for the pipeline and related facilities. Additional members of the coalition include Trow Consulting Engineers, Ltd. of Brampton, Ontario; Accent Engineering Consultants, Inc. of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Project Consulting Services, Inc. of New Orleans, Louisiana. The estimated US$1.6 billion pipeline will follow a subsea route from the anticipated production area near Sable Island to a location on the southern coast of Nova Scotia, continuing subsea to landing points in the New York and New Jersey areas. The coalition anticipates completing the preliminary engineering studies by the end of 2002.

"We are pleased to have such a competent alliance team working on the Blue Atlantic technical development effort," said Jack P. Lucido, vice president of Major Projects, Engineering for El Paso Eastern Pipeline Group. "This coalition brings both Canadian and United States experience to our project. Each team member provides specialized areas of expertise that compliment the overall project technical development and promote international technology transfer."

Blue Atlantic will provide Southwest Nova Scotia with the first access to natural gas and the first direct link to the New York and New Jersey markets from anticipated supplies near Sable Island. Demand for natural gas in this region is expected to increase an additional 685 million cubic feet (685 dekatherms) per day by 2005, growing to an incremental 2 billion cubic feet (2,000 dekatherms) per day by the end of the decade.

El Paso previously announced that it has retained the services of Halifax-based Jacques Whitford Environment Limited and the U.S. firm ENSR Corporation to begin the detailed environmental work required for the project. The company continues to seek input from various regulatory and government organizations, as well as work with local communities and special interest groups addressing specific issues regarding this project. Once the pipeline route has been determined and all necessary environmental investigations have been completed, El Paso will seek approval for installation from governing agencies in both Canada and the United States. El Paso anticipates that the project could be in service by the fourth quarter 2005.