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FERC Issues Positive EA to NGPL’s Gulf Coast Southbound Expansion

FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA) Friday for Phase 1 of Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC's (NGPL) Gulf Coast Southbound Expansion Project.

The project is designed to transport an additional 460,000 Dth/d on NGPL's Gulf Coast Mainline System to serve growing industrial and export demand via delivery points in South Texas. NGPL has secured long-term commitments from two shippers for the capacity.

NGPL, which filed an application for the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in August [CP16-488], has proposed constructing a new 15,900 hp compressor station (CS 394) in Cass County, TX, along with a 4,000-foot, 30-inch diameter pipeline lateral connecting the station to NGPL's Amarillo to Gulf Coast Pipeline. NGPL would also abandon two existing compression units at its CS 301 compressor station, totaling roughly 5,600 hp, according to FERC.

FERC staff concluded in its EA that the project "would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment," assuming the implementation of all mitigation measures proposed by NGPL and by Commission staff.

The Gulf Coast expansion would transport natural gas from points in Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas to delivery points on the Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline (serving Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Corpus Christi Liquefaction project) in San Patricio County, TX, and on the NET Mexico Pipeline in Nueces County, TX.

NGPL is targeting an October 2018 in-service date for Phase 1 of the Gulf Coast Southbound expansion.

Last May, NGPL began testing customer interest in Phase 2 of the Gulf Coast expansion. As proposed, Phase 2 would provide up to 250,000 Dth/d of incremental firm transportation service to "existing and expanding markets in NGPL's Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast service areas from existing or new receipt points in the Midwest." The projected in-service date, with regulatory approval, is 4Q2019.

NGPL, jointly-owned by Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, operates one of the largest interstate pipeline systems in the country, with roughly 9,200 miles of pipeline, over 1 million hp in compression and 288 Bcf of storage.

During a 1Q2017 earnings conference call last week, KMI pointed to liquefied natural gas exports and pipeline exports to Mexico as among the key growth opportunities for its natural gas transportation business moving forward.

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