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Starks Receives Okay to Build 29 Bcf LA Storage Facility

EnCana Corp. affiliate Starks Gas Storage LLC picked up a FERC certificate last Thursday to build a two-cavern salt dome storage facility with total capacity of 29 Bcf at a location between Lake Charles, LA and the Texas border.

Starks proposes to build the two-cavern facility and header system in two stages over the next two years. Phase I would prepare the Starks 1 cavern with a capacity of 13.3 Bcf, including 8.8 Bcf of working gas and 4.5 Bcf of cushion gas. This system would have a withdrawal rate of 400 MMcf/d and an injection rate of 375 Bcf by the summer of 2006.

Phase II, which would involve the Starks 2 cavern, would be completed 11 months later in the summer of 2007. It would bolster total storage capacity by an additional 15.6 Bcf capacity, with 10.4 Bcf of that working gas. When it goes on line, the total peak withdrawal rate of the two caverns would be 800 MMcf/d with a 750 MMcf/d injection rate.

A 35-mile, 30-inch diameter header system would connect the storage field with Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Texas Eastern Transmission and Williams' Transco. The header also would cross or approach the proposed routes of several new pipelines being developed to connect new liquefied natural gas terminal facilities to the marketplace, the order said.[CP05-8].

In late May, Starks had asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to use its certificate proceeding to revise agency storage policy in order to encourage the development of independent storage. Specifically, it sought rehearing of an earlier order in which FERC denied Starks' request for a waiver of the Order 636 unbundling requirement so that it could make bundled sales of gas out of its storage facilities.

FERC in late June turned down Starks' bid for rehearing, saying that "the full implications of allowing bundled sales by the operator of a storage facility are too potentially wide-ranging and damaging to permit at this time."

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