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El Paso to Develop Underground Storage in Arizona

El Paso Corp.'s Western Pipeline Group plans to develop a new underground natural gas storage facility near Eloy, AZ, about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix. The project, announced Thursday, would consist of up to four underground salt caverns capable of storing 3.5 Bcf of gas and delivering 350 MMcf/d.

An application for approval of the Arizona Natural Gas Storage Project is expected to be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 3Q2007. Subject to federal and state regulatory approvals, construction could begin in 2008. The first cavern is expected to in service by mid-2010, with the remaining three caverns in service between 2011-2012.

The project would support nearby pipelines and "the reliability of natural gas services for Arizona and the region for many years to come," said James J. Cleary, president of the Western Pipeline Group.

"Arizona is predicted to be one of the top five fastest-growing states in the nation during the next 30 years," said Cleary. "That growth will increase demand for energy to sustain economic development in the state, and natural gas storage is one of the most efficient, low-cost and least environmentally disruptive ways to provide that energy to meet the needs of consumers."

The project would include state-of-the-art safety and efficiency features, such as remote emergency shutdown capabilities, below surface shutoff valves, gas-leak detection and alarms, and advanced fire detection and suppression technology.

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