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Enbridge Project Would Sidestep Crowded Perryville

Enbridge Inc. is holding an open season for a new interstate pipeline from the company's Carthage Hub in East Texas to an interconnect with Southern Natural Gas in southeastern Louisiana. One of the proposed LaCrosse Pipeline's main selling points: it would bypass the gas-jam that some predict will be afflicting the popular Perryville Hub in North Louisiana where a number of east-bound projects are aimed, Enbridge said.

The nonbinding open season begins April 13. LaCrosse would include approximately 300 miles of 42- and 36-inch diameter pipe and would interconnect with at least five to six interstate pipelines along its route and could include up to as many as 12 pipeline interconnections, depending on shipper interest. Enbridge also is exploring the possibility of extending the pipeline to Florida Gas Transmission's Station 10 near Wiggins, MS. As planned, the proposed project would be completed in late 2011 or early 2012.

The route addresses a number of issues, John Loiacono, Enbridge vice president of commercial activity, told NGI. "...[G]etting gas out of Perryville is going to be an issue," he said. "I don't think the long-term view is that Perryville is the answer, so our route goes beyond Perryville and on to alternative markets." Additionally, the pipeline would deliver some gas within the state of Louisiana, which will benefit the project from a political standpoint, he said. LaCrosse also could carry supplies from offshore, and it would be a stepping stone on the way to Florida and its gas-fired power generation market.

"We anticipate this pipeline could move at least 1 Bcf/d of natural gas from the Carthage area and the Enbridge Carthage Hub and the Haynesville Shale producing basin to various interconnections with market-area pipelines located across Louisiana. This pipeline would also provide outlets for the Fort Worth and East Texas producing basins," said Enbridge CEO Patrick D. Daniel. "The Haynesville Shale is one of the most active gas plays in the United States. Our proposed LaCrosse Pipeline provides a creative and flexible solution to relieve market constraints affecting producers in the booming region."

At Carthage and on its western side the LaCrosse project is being driven by the producer push out of the Haynesville Shale of Louisiana and East Texas. To the east lies industrial load in Louisiana, and farther still, gas-fired power generators in Florida. The project is entering a crowded field of contenders out of the Haynesville region as six projects have been announced in the area of late, according to Bentek Energy LLC.

The Haynesville offers producers a more attractive netback than the well known Barnett Shale, Loiacono said. Further, results of early Haynesville wells suggest that the play might offer better well results than the Barnett, he said. "...[T]here probably aren't enough data points to say definitively where [the Haynesville] comes in at...Initial production rates are appearing to be pretty prolific relative to some of the alternatives. That being said, it's hard to assess sometimes when what you see is what people put in the press. You don't know what you're not seeing."

Other projects seeking to tap Haynesville supplies are:

How many and which of these projects advance remains to be seen. The odds for the CenterPoint and Regency projects are good, according to Bentek. Still, the firm noted almost a year ago that prices at Perryville were under pressure from new supplies moving into the area (see NGI, May 5, 2008). Bentek Managing Director Rusty Braziel told NGI that Enbridge's LaCrosse could alleviate some of the congestion around Perryville but ultimately would only move the Gulf of Mexico region capacity constraint eastward, which would still be a good thing, he said.

The Enbridge open season runs through May 15. For information contact Steve Marsh at (713) 821-2084 or steve.marsh@enbridge.com, or Mark DeRusse at (713) 821-6195 or mark.derusse@enbridge.com.

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