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South Texas Expansion, Pomelo Connector Projects Granted FERC OK

A pair of separate but related pipeline efforts intended to support natural gas exports to Mexico, the Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) South Texas Expansion Project (STEP) and Pomelo Connector LLC's Pomelo Connector Pipeline Project, were each granted certificate authorization for construction by FERC Thursday.

Tetco first filed at FERC in mid-2015 for STEP, which through the addition of compression and other facilities would transform its existing Line 16 system to bidirectional service [CP15-499]. The project would allow Tetco to provide 400,000 Dth/d of incremental service for the project's anchor shipper and to increase the reliability and flexibility of service for all shippers on this portion of the Tetco system, the Spectra Energy Partners pipeline told FERC.

STEP includes installing an 8,400 hp compressor unit, a meter and regulating station, and appurtenant facilities on existing Tetco property in Nueces County, which is in South Texas. It also includes installing an 8,400 HP compressor unit, piping modifications, and appurtenant facilities at the existing Blessing Compressor Station in Matagorda County, TX, as well as modifying piping and other compression facilities at the Mont Belvieu Compressor Station in Chambers County, TX; Vidor Compressor Station in Orange County, TX; and Angleton Compressor Station in Brazoria County, TX.

In addition, modifications would be made to piping at existing pig launcher and receive sites along Tetco’s Line 16 in Brazoria, Chambers, and Orange counties.

Mexico's Comision Federal de Electricidad, the project's anchor customer, previously subscribed for incremental service on a transportation path extending from points near the Texas-Louisiana border to the new delivery point at the Petronila Compressor Station site.

In January 2017 Pomelo Connector filed at FERC for permission to construct its 14-mile-long, 30-inch diameter pipeline in Texas connecting Tetco with the proposed Valley Crossing Pipeline LLC in support of a system that would enable export of U.S. natural gas to Mexico [CP17-19]. The pipeline would run from Tetco's Petronila Station in Nueces County to its Valley Crossing interconnect near Agua Dulce, which is near Corpus Christi.

FERC issued a presidential permit and granted authorization in October for Valley Crossing Pipeline LLC to construct and operate a 2.6 Bcf/d cross-border natural gas pipeline between Texas and Mexico, where it would be used for power generation and industrial customers.

FERC's order authorized Valley Crossing, a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc., to build about 1,000 feet of 42-inch diameter pipeline from a point in Texas state waters about 30 miles east of Brownsville, to the international border with the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Natural gas transported through the pipeline is expected to fuel power plants owned by Mexico's Comision Federal de Electricidad. Enbridge expects to enter the pipeline into service by October.

Valley Crossing is currently building about 165 miles of 42- and 48-inch diameter of upstream, intrastate pipeline in Texas. The new pipeline would extend southwest from a header system in Nueces County, near the Agua Dulce Hub, to the proposed border-crossing facility, which would be subject to the jurisdiction of the Railroad Commission of Texas. Two compressor stations, multiple meter stations and ancillary facilities are also under construction.

FERC's order on Thursday also authorized Pomelo to abandon, and Tetco to acquire by lease, all the capacity of the Pomelo Connector Pipeline.

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