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New Gathering System Completed for Powder River

New Gathering System Completed for Powder River

Thunder Creek Gas Services LLC, a joint venture of KN Energy and Devon Energy, has completed construction on a major, new gathering trunkline designed to meet the expanding production in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, which is being touted as the "most active" coal-bed methane play in the nation.

The company expects to begin early gas flows on the 126-mile, 450 MMcf/d trunkline system later this month, with full operation expected to start in the fall after the installation of a carbon-dioxide removal facility, said Vince White of Devon Energy, a Tulsa, OK-based producer that's extremely active in the basin. The 24-inch gathering network will run from north of Gillette, WY, to near the Glenrock Hub in the north central part of the state.

Prior to entering the pipeline system, the coal-bed methane gas will be treated in a carbon-dioxide extraction facility near Glenrock that still is under construction by the Thunder Creek joint venture, which was formed last year. The CO2 plant is "very large," and is prepared to accept gas streams containing a CO2 content of up to 5%, a level that is considered "high for that area," White said.

The processed gas then would flow into the existing KN Interstate pipeline, Colorado Interstate Gas' system at Glenrock, Wyoming Interstate Co. Inc.'s (WIC) Medicine Bow Lateral (which just received final FERC approval), and KN Interstate's proposed Pathfinder pipeline project-a 150-mile line that would carry gas from Glenrock to the Rockport Hub in northeastern Colorado. KN has yet to file an application for Pathfinder at FERC.

The estimated cost of the Thunder Creek gathering trunkline, related compression and the processing plant is $100 million, White said. He noted this will be the first new gathering system to come on-line for Powder River producers, some of whom have had to shut in production because the existing gathering and delivery infrastructure hasn't been able to handle it.

Two other gathering systems also are planned for the booming production region. The Fort Union Gas Gathering project, a 106-mile system, currently is being built by a consortium of five companies-including CIG Resources Co., Barrett Resources, CMS Continental Natural Gas, Western Gas Resources and Enron Capital and Trade Corp. The 450 MMcf/d gathering line is scheduled to start up in September. In addition, the consortium is building a CO2 extraction facility.

Also slated for construction is the Northern Header Gas Gathering project, a 256-mile system that would move up to 500 MMcf/d from the northeast end of the basin near Gillette and Sheridan, WY, southward into the Fort Union system. The header, which is expected to be operational by Nov. 1, would gather gas for CMS Oil and Gas, the production arm of CMS Energy, and Denver-based Pennaco Energy.

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