TICONDEROGA — International Paper and Vermont Gas have signed an agreement to extend a natural-gas pipeline under Lake Champlain to the Ticonderoga paper mill.
Mill spokeswoman Donna Wadsworth said it’s expected that service to the mill will begin by the end of 2015.
The pipeline is currently being extended from Chittenden County, Vt., into Addison County and then south to Rutland.
“I can’t overstate the importance of this agreement,” Ticonderoga Mill Manager Chris Mallon said in a press release.
“Our business is highly competitive, and cost-reduction projects such as this will help the long-term viability of the mill and retain jobs for the region.
“This agreement provides a unique opportunity for the mill to reap the benefits of a fuel that is much lower cost, while positioning us to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.”
‘HALF THE COST’
Natural gas has been projected to cost the Ticonderoga mill only about half of what it now pays for the fuel oil it burns in its power and product-recovery boilers. Currently, natural-gas prices in Vermont are 44 percent less than fuel oil and 50 percent less than propane, Wadsworth said.
“This is a great opportunity for the mill, Vermont and for the region,” Vermont Gas President and Chief Executive Officer Donald Gilbert said in the release.
“We continue to hear from Vermont communities that they want natural-gas service as soon as possible. That’s why serving the paper mill in Ticonderoga is so exciting — it will expand and extend our pipeline network further south toward Rutland, sooner, and at no additional cost to our customers.”
Vermont Gas will submit requests for permits for the first stage of the Addison Natural Gas Project this December. The Addison project is the first step in expanding service
further south in Vermont.