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Nevada Gas Pipeline Gets FERC Tariff OK For Startup This Year

A unit of Las Vegas-based Southwest Gas Corp. on Monday received FERC authorization to place into service before the end of this year a new 35.2-mile, eight-inch diameter natural gas pipeline lateral in the far northeast corner of Nevada in Elko with new interconnections to the interstate Ruby Pipeline LLC, running from Wyoming to the Oregon-California border.

Southwest's Paiute Pipeline Co. built and will operate the line as part of it $35.2 million Elko Area Expansion Project for which the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved the pipeline right-of-way earlier this year (see Daily GPIJuly 7).

The project that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sanctioned for operation includes the new Adobe Lateral, modification of Paiute's existing Elko citygate, construction of a new interconnection with Ruby at its Wieland Flat Compressor Station, and construction of associated facilities, including valves, structures, a rectifier and groundbed for cathodic protection, station piping, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and telemetry equipment.

FERC allowed Paiute to put one of its new meter runs and the SCADA building at the Elko City Gate into service last October. Formal startup of the bulk of the facilities will be contingent on the federal regulators agreeing that the right-of-way (ROW) restoration and rehabilitation work is proceeding satisfactorily.

In requesting FERC's authorization to start operations, Paiute General Manager Mark Litwin said the lateral and associated structure have been constructed, and the remaining work is due to be completed by Dec. 30. "Paiute believes that the rehabilitation and restoration of ROW is moving along satisfactorily," and cleanup along it has largely been completed, Litwin said. Certain ROW portions will not be completed until next spring due to winter freezes already setting in.

"Paiute expects that Ruby will be ready to provide service at the new Jade Flats interconnect on Dec. 30," Litwin said. A Southwest Gas spokesperson said all the facilities should be placed in service "at the end of December or the first week of January, barring unforeseen events."

The project is expected to address "the growing demands for natural gas, including increased residential and business load, and the greater energy needs of mining operations in the Elko area," BLM officials in Tuscarora, NV, office said last summer in approving the ROW.

FERC issued a certificate for the pipeline expansion on May 14 [CP14-509]. Through the additional Paiute infrastructure Southwest Gas and the Newmont Mining Corp. operations in the area are expected to get an additional 21.9 MMcf/d of incremental firm transmission pipeline service, according to FERC.

Paiute's current natural gas transmission system runs 226 miles. It begins at an interconnection with Northwest Pipeline LLC at the Owyhee Receipt Point near the Idaho-Nevada border and runs south to Wadsworth Junction, NV. At that point Paiute's mainline splits into the Reno and Carson laterals, which extend to the California-Nevada border near the north and south ends of Lake Tahoe.

Paiute's Elko Lateral begins about 100 miles downstream of Owyhee and runs east for 147 miles to the existing Elko citygate.

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