El Paso Corp. said last week that it is extending the binding open season for its mammoth Continental Connector pipeline project due to requests from several prospective shippers who are seeking additional time to further evaluate and fully respond to the offering. The open season, which began May 1, will be extended until June 8.

Earlier this month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the company's request to begin the pre-filing process for the project, which would connect El Paso's Rocky Mountain region pipelines, including Colorado Interstate, Wyoming Interstate and Cheyenne Plains, with its three lines in the eastern half of the country: ANR Pipeline, Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Southern Natural Gas. El Paso signaled that it plans to file its project application within six months. It asked FERC to act on its application by August 2007 so that it can begin construction the following month and place Continental Connector in service by no later than April 1, 2008.

El Paso announced the Continental Connector project last October, offering a cross-country line following a southern route, as opposed to Kinder Morgan's and Sempra Energy's Rockies Express pipeline, which would extend from Cheyenne Hub in northern Colorado to connections with Dominion Transmission and Texas Eastern Transmission in Ohio (see NGI, Oct. 10, 2005). In December 2005, the Rockies Express pipeline received 1.3 Bcf/d in binding, conforming commitments during two separate open seasons for the proposed pipe (see NGI, Dec. 26, 2005).

Both systems would be designed to bring growing Rocky Mountain gas production to premium markets in the East. The 1-2 Bcf/d Continental Connector project also would tap production in the Midcontinent and in North and East Texas, eventually terminating in northern Mississippi.

"The Continental Connector project will link the fastest growing supply areas, including the Rockies, Midcontinent and the Barnett Shale fields of North Texas, with existing infrastructure at the hub near Perryville, LA, to access virtually every gas market in the eastern and southeastern United States," El Paso said Tuesday.

Continental Connector would span more than 700 miles and involve more than 300 miles of new construction of up to 42-inch diameter pipeline to connect El Paso's three western pipelines with its three southern and eastern pipelines, which offer access to markets from Florida to New England as well as the Midwest.

Additional information on the Continental Connector binding open season package can be located at http://www.continentalconnectorpipeline.com , or by calling El Paso's Joe Wyzik at (713)420-4338.

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