NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report / NGI All News Access

Enterprise Exits Pathfinder for Better Returns Elsewhere

Enterprise Products Partners and Quicksilver Gas Services have scrapped plans to take a stake in TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Pathfinder Pipeline, which would help transport Rockies gas to markets in the Midwest. The credit crunch and unrest in capital markets were blamed.

Enterprise spokesman Rick Rainey told NGI the company has secured funding for projects it wants to pursue in 2009 and has committed to using its capital judiciously. "We did not stop [Pathfinder] to go pursue another one," he said. "Given the current state of the credit markets...we're in a good position in that we have a very strong stable of projects to choose from, and that project was not really going to provide us with the returns for our money that we really were looking for. One of our goals is not to have to go out to the equity markets [in 2009] to fund any of these projects."

Pathfinder is designed to provide initial service from Meeker, CO, to the Northern Border Pipeline Co. system in North Dakota. A subsequent expansion would extend service from Northern Border to both the Great Lakes Gas Transmission System and TransCanada's Canadian Mainline system at Emerson, MB. The initial capacity of the pipeline would be 1.2 Bcf/d. Under an agreement that was canceled in September, Enterprise and Quicksilver would have owned up to 40% and 10%, respectively, of Pathfinder (see NGI, May 19, 2008). TransCanada has said it would pursue new partners.

As for Enterprise, it and Questar Pipeline Co. recently began operations at their 2.5 Bcf/d White River Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO, connecting the Enterprise gas processing plant at Meeker with four interstate pipelines in the area (see NGI, Dec. 22, 2008). Going forward, Rainey said the Rockies as well as the offshore Gulf of Mexico and the Barnett Shale in Texas will be areas of focus for the company.

"We can pick and choose what we want to do," he said. "Obviously, you're going to need as much takeaway capacity out of the Rockies as possible, and we hope [Pathfinder] does go forward. But for our participation we wanted something with a little bit more attractive returns based on the fact that we were going to have to really be a little bit more diligent in how we allocate capital..."

Additionally, Rainey said Enterprise is poised for acquisitions should the right deal come around. "If the opportunity presents itself, we would be in a good position to be able to pursue those, but only under the right conditions and only if the assets can be integrated with what we currently have." he said.

Last year Northern Border Pipeline Co. sold Bison Pipeline LLC to TransCanada Pipeline USA Ltd., setting the stage for a possible combination of the Bison Pipeline Project with Pathfinder. Bison assets included precedent agreements, as well as regulatory, environmental and engineering activities completed on the Bison project. Project subscription stood at 405 MMcf/d. Northern Border retained the executed downstream contract for capacity from Port of Morgan, MT, to Ventura, IA, on the Northern Border system (see NGI, Sept. 8, 2008).

©Copyright 2009 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.