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Enterprise, Duncan Energy Team on TX Storage Project Open Season

Testing the waters to see if there is adequate market support for the conversion of a gas liquids storage cavern to natural gas storage operations in Mont Belvieu, TX, Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP and Duncan Energy Partners LP, through their Mont Belvieu Caverns LLC (MBC) affiliate, announced the start of a binding open season for up to 10 Bcf of firm natural gas storage capacity.

The project would involve the conversion of one or more existing natural gas liquids storage caverns and construction of associated pipelines and pipeline interconnects. A spokesman for the project said engineering studies on the conversion project will need to be completed before the company releases any cost estimates. As currently designed, MBC said the facility would feature bidirectional connections with Enterprise Texas Pipeline, Enterprise Texas Intrastate (Channel), Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, and Texas Eastern Transmission.

As a result, the company said customers would have enhanced flexibility to manage their natural gas supplies in order to meet increased demand in southeastern Texas as well as the northeastern United States.

The binding open season is being driven by strong support from shippers that have already expressed interest in capacity in excess of the 10 Bcf being offered, Enterprise said. Subject to market interest and regulatory approvals, MBC anticipates an in-service date of April 1, 2009.

"We previously had a nonbinding open season and that actually attracted interest well in excess of the 10 Bcf that was being offered," said Rick Rainey, a spokesman with Enterprise Products Partners. "Based on that we made the decision to go ahead and seek commitments for firm capacity."

The Mont Belvieu Caverns LLC open season will begin at 9 a.m. CST Friday and will conclude April 12. Interested bidders on the available capacity may contact Russ Kovin at (713) 381-7925 or rkovin@eprod.com.

Duncan Energy Partners LP formed to own interests in some of Enterprise Products Partners LP's Gulf Coast midstream assets, launched its initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year (see Daily GPI, Jan. 26). The spin-off owns 66% of Enterprise's equity interests in the Acadian Gas, Sabine Propylene and Lou-Tex Propylene pipeline systems, the South Texas Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) pipeline system and the Mont Belvieu NGL storage facilities.

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