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El Paso Takes Another Stab at Expanding Bondad Line

El Paso Takes Another Stab at Expanding Bondad Line

Believing in the saying that "if at first you don't succeed, try again," El Paso began a new open season Friday to solicit interest in firm service agreements to move gas on an expansion of the Bondad Line in San Juan Basin. A previous attempt at a Bondad expansion ultimately broke down after FERC rejected some of the tariff provisions last year, leading the primary expansion shipper to withdraw from the project and FERC to vacate its project certification (see NGI, Sept. 7, 1998; Oct. 19, 1998; Dec. 14, 1998; and Jan. 18, 1999).

El Paso still plans on replacing turbines at Bondad Station and adding in the neighborhood of 116 MMcf/d capacity to Blanco, Jerry Strange, director of transportation marketing, told NGI Friday. But under last year's proposal, the incremental capacity was earmarked only for the shippers who agreed to pay for construction costs. In the new plan, El Paso is still seeking agreements for underwriting the expansion, but sponsoring shippers must share the incremental capacity with other firm shippers on a pro rata basis, Strange said. That meets FERC's primary objection to the original project, he said. A new wrinkle in the current open season is that El Paso also is offering access to Northwest Pipeline at Ignacio for shippers who desire that, he added.

The Bondad Line, which runs from the Northwest terminus at Ignacio in southwest Colorado to the Blanco Hub in northwest New Mexico, has an existing capacity of 567.7 MMcf/d. The line has often been overnominated in the past, leading some San Juan Basin traders to refer to it sarcastically as "Bondage."

The current open season will run through March 12. Subject to timely FERC approval of the new project, El Paso expects to complete it by the second quarter of 2000. Call Strange at (915) 496-3139 for information.

Roger Tanner, Houston

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