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Tennessee Plans New Gulf Pipe To Connect with HIOS

Tennessee Plans New Gulf Pipe To Connect with HIOS

Tennessee Gas Pipeline is planning a new 400 MMcf/d gas pipeline in the western Gulf of Mexico that will connect Tennessee's existing system to the High Island Offshore System (HIOS), pending regulatory approvals.

The new line will provide new access to the deep-water areas on the Texas side of the Gulf and to other supply areas connected to the HIOS system. It also will provide producers access to Vastar Resources Inc.'s Grand Chenier processing plant, Tennessee's 800 leg Zone L pool, interstate and intrastate pipeline interconnects, and Tennessee's markets in the Gulf Coast, Southeast, and Northeast regions.

Bob Gibb, director of supply for Tennessee Gas Pipeline, said the project has two main purposes: one is to provide access to growing deep-water areas in the Texas Gulf and the other is to improve the utilization of existing processing capacity in the area.

"Vastar, which owns 100% of the Grand Chenier plant, has an underutilization problem," said Gibb. "The amount of gas flowing through that plant is limited. It is connected to two laterals owned by Tennessee Gas Pipeline that go out into the shallow waters of the Gulf and there's just not enough production surrounding those shallow lines to serve the needs of the plant or to fill the plant to capacity.

"One of the things this pipeline we're building will do is to provide access to the deep-water Gulf. We're going out to the point where HIOS is coming in from the deep water. We'll provide an outlet for gas coming in on HIOS to not only continue on up through the UTOS and ANR systems but to come up through the Tennessee system, and that's critical if you look out at [Exxon's] Diana Hoover [deep-water project], Kerr McGee's [Boombang prospect] and some of the deep-water developments taking place as we speak."

Gibb said the pipeline would be well positioned in a growing supply area. Many of the deep-water supply projects connected to HIOS are just getting started. He said Tennessee is assuming the financial risk of the project. The cost for development was not released.

The project will involve laying 17.5 miles of 20-inch pipe from the HIOS platform located in West Cameron Block 167 to a sub-sea tie-in to Tennessee's existing system in West Cameron Block 180. Incremental supplies will follow this route to Vastar's Grand Chenier plant onshore for processing. The plant has available capacity to process the entire 400 MMcf/d while continuing to manage its existing throughput. Service is planned for Nov. 1.

"This project demonstrates our continuing commitment to attract incremental supplies to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline system," said Tennessee Gas President Stephen C. Beasley. "Tennessee recognizes the importance of providing Gulf of Mexico producers with economically attractive downstream processing and marketing opportunities, and this project affords that opportunity."

Rocco Canonica

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