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FERC to Review 1.1 Bcf/d Natural Gas Pipeline Crossing to Mexico

FERC will conduct an environmental assessment (EA) of the potential impacts of the 1.1 Bcf/d San Elizario Crossing Project, a border project in Texas that would export natural gas to Mexico via the proposed intrastate Comanche Trail Pipeline.

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the pipeline's owner, Comanche Trail Pipeline LLC, is proposing to construct and operate a new border crossing between the United States and Mexico in El Paso County, TX. FERC will accept public comments on the project [CP15-503] until Sept 2.

"The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public interest," FERC said Monday.

The San Elizario Crossing Project involves construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline, measuring about 1,086 feet in length. A horizontal directional drill (HDD) would lay the pipeline under the Rio Grande River near the City of San Elizario, TX. The new pipeline would have a maximum design export capacity of approximately 1.1 Bcf/d, and would transport natural gas to a new delivery interconnection near the City of San Isidro, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

FERC said the project involves associated infrastructure that does not fall under its purview. That infrastructure includes the proposed Comanche Pipeline, a 196-mile, 42-inch diameter intrastate pipeline that would originate in Pecos County, TX, and terminate at the proposed border crossing in El Paso County, the latter of which would be under FERC's jurisdiction.

Although the multiple receipt and delivery metering stations along the Comanche Pipeline, as well as other auxiliary facilities, would be subject to Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) regulation, FERC said its EA would include environmental impact information for related Comanche Pipeline facilities not under its jurisdiction.

Construction of the San Elizario Crossing Project pipeline under the Rio Grande River would affect a total of 4.2 acres of land in the United States, according to FERC. That total includes temporary workspace for the HDD process and hydrostatic testing of the pipeline. After construction is complete, Comanche Trail would retain 1.3 acres as a 50-foot wide easement.

The project is one of several designed to provide Mexico with additional supplies of natural gas, especially for power generation purposes.

Last April, Oneok Partners LP and a subsidiary of Fermacoa Infrastructure BV announced a partnership to build the Roadrunner Gas Transmission pipeline from the Permian Basin of Texas to Mexico (see Daily GPI, April 1). Roadrunner, which would have 640 MMcf/d of capacity, would extend from Oneok's WesTex Transmission intrastate pipeline system at Coyanosa, TX, to a new international border crossing connection near San Elizario. Oneok said last month it will expand the capacity on its WesTex system by 260 MMcf/d (see Daily GPIJuly 31).

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