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Swift FERC Approval Sought for 2nd Leg of Rockies Express Project

Rockies Express Pipeline LLC, formerly Entrega Gas Pipeline LLC, last week filed an application seeking FERC authorization to build the second leg of a $4 billion mega-pipeline project that would transport Rocky Mountain gas supplies to Midwest and Northeast markets.

Rockies Express, which is jointly owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Sempra Energy, proposes to build 713 miles of pipeline facilities from the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO, to an interconnection with Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line located in Audrain County, MO. It would have a capacity of 1.5 MMDth/d. The project, which is referred to as REX-West, also would include a long-term lease of 625,000 Dth/d of capacity from Questar Overthrust Pipeline to permit REX-West shippers to source gas from the Opal Hub in Wyoming.

In addition, the REX-West project would include one new compressor unit at the Wamsutter Compressor Station in Sweetwater County, a five-mile, 24-inch supply lateral near Echo Springs, WY, and a new compressor station near Echo Springs.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission already has approved the first leg of the project, which includes the construction of a 327-mile pipeline system from the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO, northward to the Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County, WY, and then southeastward to the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County (see NGI, Aug. 15, 2005). That segment of the pipeline is being built in two phases. The first phase was completed in February, while the second phase is expected to be finished by Jan. 1, 2007.

The 713-mile REX-West pipeline would pick up where the 327-mile leg ends -- at the Cheyenne Hub. Rockies Express has asked FERC to act on its application for the REX-West segment by March 2007 so that it can go into service on Jan. 1, 2008.

When the REX-West line is completed, Rockies Express said it will own one pipeline system that will extend 1,040 miles from an interconnect with TransColorado Gas Transmission at the Meeker Hub in Colorado to Audrain County, MO.

Rockies Express said it plans to file in the future a separate, independent application, known as REX-East, to construct pipeline facilities that would extend from the terminus of the REX-West facilities in Audrain County to Clarington, OH. This third and last leg of the project would increase the capacity of the line to 1.8 MMDth/d from 1.5 MMDth/d, it said.

During a recent open season for capacity on REX-West, Rockies Express said potential shippers executed binding precedent agreements for capacity on both the REX-West and REX-East segments.

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