Storage Facility near Fresno, CA Approved

Yesterday, October 29, Gill Ranch Storage, LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwest Natural Gas Company) received approval of its filing for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to build and operate an underground natural gas storage facility near Fresno, California’s fifth largest city.  The new facility will be known as Gill Ranch Storage.


Fresno is located in the center of the wide San Joaquin Valley of Central California, roughly 200 miles north of Los Angeles and 170 miles south of the state capital in Sacramento.


“This approval by the CPUC is a key milestone in development of the Gill Ranch Storage facility,” said GRS’s Project Development Director Charlie Stinson,


“Following some additional permit approvals, which are expected soon, we anticipate breaking ground at Gill Ranch before year-end, and to remain on schedule for an August 2010 in-service date,” added Stinson.


With an initial capacity of 20 billion cubic feet, the Gill Ranch Gas Storage project is being developed by GRS and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.) Both GRS and PG&E own portions of the overall project, holding undivided interests; GRS has 75% interest; PG&E with 25%, in the project’s initial development phase.


The new Gill Ranch Storage, located 25 miles west of Fresno, will include an 27-mile, 30-inch pipeline, connecting to the PG&E Line 401 north of Panoche, California. (Panoche is located in the southern, rural part of San Benito County, roughly four miles from the Fresno County line to the northeast.)


NW Natural is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, serving more than 660,000 residential and business customers in Oregon and southwest Washington State. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest, and has been a public company for 150 years. The company has $2.2 billion in total assets, which includes approximately 16 billion cubic feet of underground gas storage capacity developed within its service territory at Mist, Oregon.

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