El Paso Eyes Two Rocky Mtn Pipe Expansions, GA-to-FL Line

El Paso Corp. officials on Thursday said the company expects to file applications later this month at FERC for two expansions of pipelines to transport natural gas production out of the Rocky Mountain region. In addition, it plans to submit an application during the second quarter for a line to deliver gas from its Elba Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Savannah, GA, to northern Florida.

El Paso affiliates are targeting three projects: an expansion of Wyoming Interstate Co.'s (WIC) Piceance Lateral in the Rocky Mountain area; an expansion of Colorado Interstate Gas Co's (CIG) Raton Basin line to transport growing coal seam production from the Raton Basin to markets in Colorado, as well as to Mid-Continent pipeline interconnections; and the construction of Southern Natural Gas' Cypress Natural Gas Pipeline from Elba Island to Jacksonville, FL, said John Somerhalder, president of El Paso Pipeline Group.

He said WIC has received binding bids of 350 MDth/d for the Piceance Lateral expansion, which calls for the construction of a 143-mile, 24-inch diameter line from the Piceance Basin in northwestern Colorado to WIC and CIG systems near Wamsutter, WY. Natural gas eventually would be delivered to the Cheyenne Hub in northeastern Colorado, where it would flow into pipelines taking Rocky Mountain supplies eastward, including the recently completed 380-mile, 560,000 Dth/d Cheyenne Plains pipeline. The company indicated earlier that it expects to have the $120 million project in service by December 2007.

El Paso affiliate CIG plans to seek FERC approval this month to carry out a 104 MMcf/d expansion of its line out of the prolific Raton Basin in northeastern New Mexico. The $60.4 million project would consist of 102 miles of 16-24 inch diameter partial looping, and 1,775 horsepower of additional compression, the company said. When operating in October 2005, the expanded line would provide deliveries to ANR Pipeline, Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America and Northern Natural Gas. Affiliate Southern Natural has resurrected its proposed Cypress pipeline project, which would extend 175 miles from the company's Elba Island LNG terminal in Georgia to northern Florida. The Cypress project was first proposed in 2000, but has been in mothballs since then. It expects to file at FERC sometime during the second quarter of this year. The proposed 220 MMcf/d, 24-inch diameter pipeline is targeted for in-service in May 2007. The pipeline said it already has signed precedent agreements with Progress Energy and BG Group.

FERC on Wednesday granted Southern Natural's request to begin consideration of the Cypress pipeline project under the Commission's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pre-filing process [PF05-7].

"Your intention is to file a certificate application before the summer of 2005. Although this filing date does not meet our guidance to begin the pre-filing process seven to eight months prior to filing, I am granting your request based on the substantial work completed in the previous Cypress Pipeline project under Docket No. CP01-180," said J. Mark Robinson of the Office of Energy Projects.

(Copyright 2004 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.

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