October 12, 2005 08:14 ET

National Fuel Subsidiary Submits FERC Filing; Company Plans to Build the Empire Connector in 2007

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.--(CCNMatthews - Oct 12, 2005) -

National Fuel Gas Company ("National Fuel") (NYSE: NFG) today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Empire State Pipeline ("Empire"), has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the authority to build and operate the Empire Connector Project. When complete, the Empire Connector will provide an upstream link for the proposed Millennium Phase I Pipeline which will transport natural gas to downstream customers, including KeySpan Gas East Corporation, which has contracted to be a major shipper.*

The Empire State Pipeline is an existing 24-inch diameter natural gas transmission pipeline that originates at the United States/Canada border at the Chippawa Channel of the Niagara River, and extends easterly 157 miles from Buffalo, N.Y., to near Syracuse, N.Y. National Fuel acquired the Empire State Pipeline in 2003. Developing the Empire Connector involves constructing a pipeline southward from this existing line near Rochester, N.Y., to connect with the Millennium Pipeline near Corning, N.Y. Empire will construct approximately 78 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline and one compressor station to produce 20,620 horsepower.*

The Empire Connector will be designed to move approximately 250 thousand decatherms (MDth) of natural gas per day and will provide customers with access to abundant and diverse gas supplies at the Dawn hub through the Empire State Pipeline's connection with the TransCanada PipeLine system at Chippawa.*

"The Empire Connector Project will provide a necessary and important alternative for providing natural gas supplies to customers in New York State,* said Philip C. Ackerman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Fuel. "Recent catastrophic weather events and record-setting natural gas commodity prices have emphasized the need for diversification of natural gas supply options in order to ensure that reliable supplies of natural gas will be available to meet our nation's energy needs. The Empire Connector Project is one such option."

Empire has requested that FERC provide a determination on this application in the spring of 2006. Construction of the Empire Connector Project is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2007, and the pipeline is expected to be in service in the fall of 2007.* The cost for developing the project is estimated to be $144 million.*

KeySpan Gas East Corporation, a subsidiary of KeySpan Energy Corp. which is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast, has subscribed for at least 150 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas transportation service per day through the Empire Pipeline and the Millennium Pipeline systems.

Empire has worked closely with landowners, participating agencies and other interested parties during the project development stage. Empire will continue to collaborate with these and other constituencies in a cooperative and comprehensive fashion throughout this process.*

National Fuel is an integrated energy company with $3.8 billion in assets comprising five principal operating segments: Utility, Pipeline and Storage, Exploration and Production, Energy Marketing, and Timber. Additional information about the company is available at or through its investor information service at 1 (800) 334-2188.

* Certain statements contained herein, including statements
concerning plans, objectives, goals, projections, strategies and
future events or performance, statements which are designated with an
asterisk ("*"), and statements which are identified by use of the
words "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "plans,"
"predicts," "projects," and similar expressions, are "forward-looking
statements" as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties
which could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from
those expressed in such statements. The Company's expectations,
beliefs and projections contained herein are expressed in good faith
and are believed to have a reasonable basis, but there can be no
assurance that such expectations, beliefs or projections will result
or be achieved or accomplished. In addition to other factors, the
following are important factors that could cause actual results to
differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking
statements: changes in economic conditions, including economic
disruptions caused by terrorist activities or acts of war; changes in
demographic patterns or weather conditions, including the occurrence
of severe weather; changes in the availability and/or price of natural
gas, oil and coal; inability to obtain or retain sufficient customers
for the proposed Empire Connector; changes in the plans of the
sponsors of the proposed Millennium Pipeline to proceed with that
project; significant changes in competitive factors affecting the
Company; governmental/regulatory actions, initiatives and proceedings,
including the FERC's consideration of the proposed Empire Connector,
and other federal, state or local actions, initiatives or proceedings
affecting acquisitions, financings, allowed rates of return, affiliate
relationships, industry and rate structure, franchise renewal, and
environmental/safety requirements; unanticipated impacts of
restructuring initiatives in the natural gas and electric industries;
significant changes from expectations in actual capital expenditures
and operating expenses and unanticipated project delays or changes in
project costs; significant changes in the projected profitability of
pending and potential projects, including the proposed Empire
Connector; occurrences affecting the Company's ability to obtain funds
from operations or the issuance of debt or equity securities to
finance needed capital expenditures and other investments; changes in
the availability and/or price of derivative financial instruments;
significant changes in tax rates or policies or in rates of inflation
or interest; significant changes in the Company's relationship with
its employees and contractors and the potential adverse effects if
labor disputes, grievances or shortages were to occur; changes in laws
and regulations to which the Company is subject, including tax,
environmental, safety and employment laws and regulations; or the cost
and effects of legal and administrative claims against the Company.
The Company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking
statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or
to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Contact Information

  • National Fuel Gas Company
    Julie Coppola Cox, 716-857-7079
    Margaret M. Suto, 716-857-6987