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FERC Approves Additional Trunkline Supplies to Sabine Pass

FERC has authorized Trunkline Gas Co. LLC to deliver up to 1 Bcf/d of natural gas to the Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Louisiana using a bi-directional system connected to Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Creole Trail Pipeline.

Last Wednesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate that allows Trunkline to modify its existing point of receipt at the Creole Trail Interconnect in Beauregard Parish, LA. Bi-directional flow through the connection would provide backhaul transportation capacity on Trunkline's system as requested by Cheniere's Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC.

Trunkline filed the request in June (see Daily GPI,June 20). According to the FERC order, the modifications are estimated to cost about $965,000, an amount that is to be fully reimbursed by Creole Trail.

"The requested modifications to accommodate reverse flow capability will not affect Trunkline's peak day or annual deliveries and no customers will be affected," FERC’s Michael McGehee, director for the division of pipeline certificates, said in last week’s filing. "Further, no other pipelines or their customers would be negatively affected.

"The project will also have minimal adverse impacts on landowners and communities...The benefits of the proposal outweigh any potential adverse consequences, and therefore, Trunkline's proposal is required by the public convenience and necessity."

Trunkline built the Creole Trail Interconnect and placed it into service in February 2008. Original plans called for Trunkline to receive, through the connection, up to 1 Bcf/d of revaporized LNG from the Creole Trail LNG import terminal, but that facility was never completed (see Daily GPI,Aug. 24, 2011).

FERC denied Trunkline's request to waive federal regulations covering nonconforming agreements and notice requirements. The agency's order also stipulates that construction of the proposed facilities be completed and entered into service by Sept. 30, 2016. The deadline coincides with Creole Trail's construction of the Gillis Compressor Station near Gillis, LA.

Sabine Pass is the only Lower 48 liquefaction/export facility to be approved by FERC (see Daily GPI,April 18, 2012). The project also is the first to receive Department of Energy approval to export LNG to countries that are not parties to a U.S. free trade agreement.

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