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KMP Looks to Build 780-Mile, $1.5-to-$2B MidContinent Pipeline

Looking to tap a number of constrained natural gas production areas, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) has launched a nonbinding open season for its proposed Kinder Morgan MidContinent Express Pipeline. The proposed 780-mile, $1.5-to-$2 billion pipe is designed to provide takeaway capacity from several constrained producing areas, including the Anadarko Basin located in western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

Originating near Stinnett, TX and traveling to northwest Alabama near the town of Florence, the proposed pipeline will transport up to 1.5 Bcf/d. The route also crosses the Arkoma Basin of eastern Oklahoma and the Fayetteville Shale region in central Arkansas.

Pending regulatory approval and adequate shipper support, the Kinder Morgan MidContinent Express Pipeline is expected to be available for service in the fourth quarter of 2008. As for the approval process, KMP said it does not foresee many speed bumps at this time.

"Until we have a little clearer of an idea in terms of what the shippers are going to want in terms of the ultimate route, we won't know exactly what we are looking at," said Rick Rainey, a spokesman for KMP. "We have a lot of experience dealing with taking these lines and providing as little disturbance as possible." Using KMP's Rockies Express project as an example (see NGI, Dec. 26, 2005; March 6, 2006), Rainey noted that 90% of that pipe will follow existing utility rights-of-way. "With the MidContinent Express, we don't anticipate any major problems."

As designed, the pipeline will feature multiple interconnects with major interstate pipelines, including Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Inc., which owns the general partner of KMP.

"The flexibility offered by a new receipt interconnect with NGPL's Amarillo and Anadarko Pipelines will give shippers access to storage services and a variety of additional supply areas including the Permian Basin, the prolific Barnett Shale, the San Juan Basin, the Raton Basin, the Denver-Julesburg Basin, the Rockies and western Canada," KMP said. "The planned route also features opportunities to develop new storage facilities that could provide interested shippers with directly connected storage and balancing services."

The company added that through a new delivery interconnect with NGPL's Gulf Coast line, shippers will also have access to additional market diversity including KMP's new Rockies Express Pipeline, which can transport supplies to consuming markets in eastern parts of the country and markets in the southeast, including the Henry Hub and other interstate pipelines such as Florida Gas Transmission.

Rainey noted that capacity within the producing areas is not the problem. "Within producing areas like the Rockies or the Midwest, there is an excess of capacity," he said. "But getting it out of those areas is where the bottlenecks arise. These projects just go to show the level of demand for infrastructure to carry gas out of these production areas."

The nonbinding open season ends May 15 at 3 p.m. CDT. Interested shippers can contact KMP's David Matney at (713) 369-9218.

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