Pipeline project of Enron subsidiary unaffected by parent company's financial woes, spokeswoman says<BR>

Transwestern Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of energy giant Enron, is unaffected by the parent company's financial woes and is proceeding with plans to expand the capacity of a natural gas pipeline that passes through Mohave County, a spokeswoman said.

"The parent company has filed for bankruptcy," said Transwestern spokeswoman Gina Taylor, who is based in Houston.

"Transwestern is not part of the bankruptcy filing and Transwestern continues to be a solvent, viable, ongoing entity."

Taylor said Transwestern, which operates a 2,500-mile pipeline from west Texas to Needles, Calif., is not for sale.

The company is working on expanding the capacity of the pipeline, and plans to complete the Red Rock Mainline Expansion Project in June.

Transwestern maintains a Kingman field office, which houses a compressor station, at 3545 Rainbow Avenue.

The gate to the facility was open Thursday morning, but a reporter could find no one at the site.

A sign on the door to the metal building reads, "Not accepting applications for employment."

The yard contains trucks, backhoes, a satellite dish and portions of pipeline.

Field employees in Kingman maintain the pipeline and right of way and operate the compressor station, Taylor said.

She said the sign at the gate shows the former name of Enron Transportation Services: Enron Transportation and Storage.

Enron reached No.

7 on the Fortune 500 and earned hundreds millions in reported profits while concocting financial partnerships that allowed the company to keep half a billion dollars in debt off its books, the Associated Press reported.

Last year, the accounting practice was exposed, and Enron's stock slid to less than a dollar from about $80.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and thousands of Enron employees lost their jobs, as well as much of their life savings, since their 401(k) accounts were loaded with company stock.

Arizona's exposure to Enron is limited when compared with that of other states, said Heather Murphy, spokeswoman for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Other states have power plants or long-term contracts with Enron or were trading on the Enron exchange.

Murphy said the ACC's pipeline safety section conducts inspections of pipelines in Arizona for the federal government.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates the Transwestern pipeline, which passes through Mohave County, because it crosses state lines.

Transwestern applied on March 29, 2001, to FERC to replace three compressor units at a compressor station located between Kingman and Seligman with one larger unit.

The compressor units make the gas travel through the pipeline.

Transwestern applied for permission to install a 41,500-horsepower unit in Mohave County, in two locations in Coconino County and one in Apache County.

The Mohave County station is located 20 miles east of U.S.

Highway 93 and north of Interstate 40.

The new horsepower units are designed to increase the capacity of the pipeline in Arizona to transport an additional 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per day to the California border.

The existing capacity is about 1 billion cubic feet per day, Taylor said.

The pipeline supplies natural gas to markets in California, she has said.

Customers include public utilities, power plants and industry.