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Transwestern Gets FERC OK to Rev Up Phoenix Expansion

Shortly after gaining FERC approval Transwestern Pipeline Co. LLC last Monday placed the second and final phase of its Phoenix Expansion Project in service. This part of the project includes all of the facilities in Arizona: the 280-mile Phoenix Lateral, modifications at the Seligman Compressor Station, the Ash Fork facility, customer laterals, meter stations and associated facilities.

The Phoenix Expansion Project, which was issued a certificate in 2007, will deliver 500 MMcf/d to the high-growth Phoenix area, which up until now had been served only by Transwestern competitor El Paso Natural Gas (see NGI, Nov. 19, 2007). The Phoenix Lateral has the capability to expand up to 1 Bcf/d. It will provide Arizona utilities access to more San Juan Basin gas production and give Transwestern's existing shippers, many of whom are marketers and producers, access to additional markets for natural gas.

"This project will supply enough natural gas to fuel the equivalent of more than 4,000 MW/d of power generation plants. To put this into perspective, one MW generally provides enough electricity for 1,000 average American homes," said Shelley Corman, senior vice president of marketing and regulatory for Transwestern.

The expansion was built in two phases. The New Mexico part of the project went into service last July. It consisted of the construction of a 26-mile San Juan Loop pipeline that raised the capacity of Transwestern's San Juan Lateral by 375 MMcf/d, bringing its total capacity to 1.6 Bcf/d.

The centerpiece of the Arizona phase is the Phoenix Lateral, which begins at Transwestern's existing mainline near Ash Fork in Yavapai County, AZ, and terminates at an interconnection with El Paso Natural Gas Co.'s East Valley Lateral near Coolidge in Pinal County, AZ. The lateral consists of 259 miles of 42-inch and 36-inch diameter pipeline in Arizona and 24 miles of 36-inch diameter pipe in New Mexico, according to a spokesman for Transwestern.

Transwestern has purchased an undivided interest in the East Valley Lateral in the amount of 203.5 MMcf/d, and will use the capacity on the lateral as part of its expansion, the spokesman said.

Transwestern, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners LP, pegged the cost of the Phoenix Lateral and the San Juan Loop pipeline at $957.8 million. Transwestern estimates that the expansion capacity is 96% subscribed for the summer months, while capacity still is available for winter months.

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