WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) ¿ A unit of National Fuel Gas Co. said Wednesday it is starting a binding open season to expand transportation capacity in the Marcellus Shale fairway in central Pennsylvania.

The National Fuel Gas Supply Corp., which is part of the pipeline and storage segment of the company, will construct new pipeline and compression facilities largely along its existing infrastructure and will serve key northeast markets.

Phase one of construction will be designed to transport about 200,000 dekatherms per day (dth/d) from the Marcellus producing area through a new 32-mile pipeline to be constructed through Elk, Cameron and Clinton Counties, Pa., to the Leidy hub. The company expects an in-service date of November 2011.

Phase two facilities will be designed to provide additional transportation capacity for at least 300,000 dth/d, and will consist of approximately 50 miles of new pipeline and compression, extending the Phase I facilities through Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, Pa., to Supply Corp.'s Line K in western Elk County, for an anticipated in-service date of November 2012.

Shares of National Fuel Gas Co. fell 1 cent to close at $45.98.

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