WIC Targets Coal-bed Gas With Medicine Bow
The Coastal Corp.'s Wyoming Interstate Co. (WIC) filed an
application with the FERC for construction of the Medicine Bow
Lateral, a new 134-mile, 24-inch diameter gas pipeline designed to
provide transportation access to the developing Powder River Basin
in Wyoming and Montana. Medicine Bow will receive Powder River
coal-bed methane gas from pipelines near Glenrock, WY, and
transport it to WIC's mainline, west of Cheyenne, WY.
The $80.5 million project initially will provide capacity of 260
MDth/d and can be expanded as necessary to accommodate production
increases from the Powder River Basin, pipeline company officials
"Recent passage of federal legislation clarifying rights to
drill for coal-bed methane gas under existing leases cleared the
way for significant development of the Powder River Basin," said
Jon R. Whitney, WIC CEO. "Powder River is estimated to have more
than 39 Tcf of natural gas in place, making it a major new natural
gas supply source to meet growing national demand. The Gas Research
Institute projects that annual natural gas consumption in the
United States will grow from the current level of 23 Tcf to 30 Tcf
by the year 2015," he noted.
Medicine Bow is expected to be in service Jan. 1, 2000, and WIC
has long-term transportation commitments totaling 178 MDth/d.
Commitments are expected to increase to 440 MDth/d over a four-year
period, the company said. WIC appears to have taken the lead over
other pipeline companies, such as Questar and KN Energy, that have
proposed new projects to serve the basin. However, it's early in
the game in the Powder River, where producers are only just
beginning to tap a vast resource. Some observers believe production
there could support several new pipelines over the next few years.
Joe Fisher, Houston
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