KN Seeks Year Delay on Front Runner Pipeline
Pipeline-on-pipeline competition in the Colorado and Wyoming
region will have to wait at least another year, says KN Wattenberg
Transmission LLC. It has asked FERC for a one-year extension to
build and put into operation its proposed 109-mile Front Runner
Pipeline, which was supposed to begin service this month.
KN Wattenberg said it is seeking the "additional time" to
conduct "further market analysis" of its project in the wake of the
completion of the competing 53-mile, 269 MDth/d Front Range
pipeline, which went into operation last November [CP98-49]. The
sponsors of Front Runner and Front Range have been in a fierce race
to serve the growing Denver, CO, market. Although Front Range is
surely the hands-down winner, KN Wattenberg insists - at least for
now - there's still a need for its proposed Front Runner
"KN believes that customers want increased competition in
Colorado's Front Range [region]. The new [Front Range] pipeline
recently added new capacity for the area. However, the lack of
competition did not change. We need to further examine to what
degree the marketplace supports another pipeline at this time...,"
said a spokeswoman for KN Energy, parent of KN Wattenberg. The fact
that KN Wattenberg has filed for an extension suggests that "our
plan right now is to move forward" on Front Runner, she noted.
KN Wattenberg further believes an extension is "prudent" while
the case is under appeal at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, said
Richard Kaup, KN's director of certificates. The sponsors of Front
Range, Public Service Company of Colorado and Colorado Interstate
Gas (CIG), have petitioned the court to overturn FERC's orders
approving the KN Front Runner project.
The Commission granted KN Wattenberg an optional certificate
last July to build the Front Runner facilities, which were to carry
gas from near Rockport, CO, south into the Denver market. The
certificate required the proposed pipeline to be completed and
in-service by July 10th of this year. But KN Wattenberg hasn't even
begun construction on the project.
At the time of the FERC order, the competing Front Range project
already had been approved by the Colorado Public Utilities
Commission (PUC) and was under construction. The $25 million
project was a joint effort of the Public Service Company of
Colorado, an LDC, and Colorado Interstate, which oversaw
construction of the line. The two companies are involved in an
alliance to develop pipeline projects in Colorado.
KN Wattenberg insisted the Front Range project was able to
"leapfrog" its Front Runner facilities because Colorado Interstate
and affiliate, Wyoming Interstate Co. (WIC), had intentionally
bifurcated Front Range into non-jurisdictional and jurisdictional
sections. This paved the way for quick approval from the Colorado
PUC for the majority of the Front Range project, KN Wattenberg
charged, and further cemented CIG's dominance in the Colorado gas
market. It lodged a complaint with FERC, which was subsequently
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