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Texas-to-Mexico Pipeline Files For Border-Crossing Facilities

Backers of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline LLC, which would move natural gas from Texas to Mexico, recently filed for a presidential permit authorizing the pipeline's international border-crossing facilities.

The border crossing would be near the city of Presidio in Presidio County, TX, and near the Mexican city of Manuel Ojinaga in the state of Chihuahua. Trans-Pecos is requesting that the permit be issued by Nov. 1 to allow construction to begin during the first quarter of 2016.

The Presidio Crossing would enable the transport of gas for export and/or import between the United States and Mexico to meet the needs of the expanding electric generation and industrial markets in Mexico, Trans-Pecos said. "The ability to import, as well as export, natural gas on the project facilities will enhance the reliability of services on both sides of the border. As such, the Presidio Crossing Project facilities will expand the market for domestically produced gas."

The Trans-Pecos intrastate system would consist of 143 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline and related facilities in Texas that would be regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). It would transport gas from the Waha Hub in Pecos County to the international border crossing.

The pipeline would have capacity of 1.3 Bcf/d. Trans-Pecos said it anticipates installing interconnects with other intrastate pipelines and processing plants at or near the Waha Hub and in the surrounding area and ultimately with interstate pipelines in the area. The pipeline would traverse the Texas counties of Pecos, Brewster and Presidio with potential interconnects with towns and municipalities before terminating at the border. Some area residents are opposed to the pipeline for environmental and safety-related reasons, and they have vowed to fight its construction (see Daily GPI, May 21).

"...[A]fter the commencement of intrastate service on the Trans-Pecos pipeline system, Trans-Pecos intends also to provide interstate transportation services under Section 311(a)(2) and Part 284, Subpart C, of the Commission's regulations on its facilities on an open-access basis for any party requesting service in accordance with Trans-Pecos Statement of Operating Conditions," the company told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [CP15-500].

The Presidio Crossing would consist of 1,093 feet of 42-inch diameter pipeline to be installed by a horizontal directional drill (HDD) from a meter facility on the north side of the Rio Grande and under the Rio Grande to the middle of the river bed at the boundary with Mexico. The pipeline portion of the HDD and other facilities to be built on the Mexico side of the boundary would be subject to the jurisdiction of the Republic of Mexico and constructed by an affiliate of Trans-Pecos.

Related facilities on the Mexican side of the border are to include 907 feet of a 42-inch diameter pipeline to be built from the boundary in the middle of the Rio Grande to a point southwest in Mexico, as well as a short stub pipeline from the HDD exit point to an interconnect with the pipeline grid in Mexico. All non-jurisdictional pipeline facilities built by Trans-Pecos on the Mexico side of the boundary, and in the State of Chihuahua would be initially owned by an affiliate of Trans-Pecos.

The principal use for the natural gas transported through the border crossing would be to fuel natural gas-fired electric generation plants and supply potential industrial customers in northern Mexico, Trans-Pecos said.

Trans-Pecos, or an affiliate, are expected to file an application with the Office of Fossil Energy of the Department of Energy under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act for short-term authorization to import and export gas from and to Mexico at any point on the border between the United States and Mexico, which will include the Presidio Crossing. Trans-Pecos said it expects that DOE will grant the authorization shortly after filing.

The pipeline is expected to transport predominantly Texas-sourced gas pursuant to the jurisdiction of the RRC, but it may also transport non-Texas-sourced gas in interstate service pursuant to Natural Gas Policy Act Section 311(a)(2) to the Presidio Crossing and to other future in-state delivery options, Trans Pecos said.

Separately, Houston Pipe Line Co. LP's Border Crossing Project, which would facilitate export and import of natural gas between the United States and Mexico at Hidalgo County, TX, was recently authorized by FERC to be placed into service (see Daily GPI,June 8). FERC also recently granted conditional authorization for border crossing pipeline facilities between the United States and Mexico to Impulsora Pipeline LLC for a project that would carry gas from the Eagle Ford Shale to markets in Mexico (see Daily GPI, May 15).

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