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FERC Begins Pre-Filing Process for 3rd Leg of Rockies Express Project

FERC last Tuesday granted the request of Rockies Express Pipeline LLC to begin the pre-filing process for the third leg of a $4 billion pipeline project that would deliver Rocky Mountain supplies to markets in the Midwest and East.

The third segment of the line, which has been named the REX East Project, consists of about 622 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline that would extend from Audrain County, MO, through Illinois and Indiana to Clarington, OH. The project would have seven new compressor stations, totaling about 236,000 horsepower, and about 20 interconnects to other major pipeline systems.

"We believe that beginning the Commission's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of this proposal prior to the receipt of your application will greatly improve the chances of completing the process in the requested time frame," FERC said in a letter to an outside attorney for Rockies Express Pipeline, which is jointly owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Sempra Energy. The pipeline signaled that it will file its application for the REX East Project by April 1, 2007 [PF06-30].

The REX East Project is the third component of three separate pipe projects that together will result in the installation of about 1,335 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline linking the producing areas in the Rocky Mountain region to the Upper Midwest and eastern United States.

Rockies Express recently filed an application to construct the second leg of the pipeline. It 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.

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. This 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.

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