FERC approves Rockies East-West line, related projects

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved construction of the Rockies Express-West natural gas pipeline on Apr. 19.

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 20 -- The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved construction of the Rockies Express-West natural gas pipeline on Apr. 19. It also authorized construction of two related components proposed by TransColorado Gas Transmission Co. and Questar Overthrust Pipeline Co.

FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher said the total project is one of the largest that the commission has certified in recent years. "It promises to bring reliable and affordable gas supplies to US consumers while helping address the disparity in prices for producers in the Rocky Mountain region," he said.

The entire project will consist of nearly 800 miles of new pipeline, more than 237,000 hp of compression, meter stations, and other facilities in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and New Mexico. It will transmit more than 1.5 million decatherms/day of gas.

Rockies Express-West will be a 713-mile, 42-in. pipeline from the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, Colo., to a Panhandle Eastern pipeline interconnection in Audrain County, Mo. Construction is expected to begin in May, with a Jan. 1, 2008, initial service target date, its sponsors said.

It is part of the larger $4.4 billion, 1,678-mile Rockies Express system which Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Sempra Pipelines & Storage, and ConocoPhillips are developing. The entire system will be able to handle 1.8 bcfd of gas.

KMP will oversee construction and operate the system. "The sponsor companies appreciate the timely manner in which the FERC completed its environmental review and subsequently authorized the certificate for Rockies Express-West," said Scott Parker, president of KMP's natural gas pipelines group in Houston.

FERC said Rockies Express also plans to construct about 177,000 hp of additional compression at five new compressor stations and two currently certificated compressor stations, and lease more than 625,000 decatherms/day of capacity on Questar Overthrust's system.

The Questar Corp. subsidiary will construct and operate an estimated 77 miles of pipeline from the terminus of its existing transmission system to an interconnection with Rockies Express at Wamsutter in Sweetwater County, Wyo., and install 45,000 hp of compression at two new compressor stations.

The project is designed to provide more than 750,000 decatherms/day of additional capacity to an existing interconnection with Wyoming Interstate Co. Ltd. and 625,000 decatherms/day of capacity to the proposed delivery point with Rockies Express at Wamsutter, according to FERC.

TransColorado's component will include 15,390 hp of new compression to transport more than 250,000 decatherms/day of gas from the Blanco Hub area in San Juan County, NM, through the Kinder Morgan Inc. subsidiary's system to Rockies Express at the an existing interconnection at the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, Colo., FERC said.

It said that its order will require the companies to complete and make the various facilities available for service within a year.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

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