DCP Midstream LLC plans to build a 110 MMcf/d gas processing plant and high-pressure gathering system in Weld County, CO, to augment its position in the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin, the company said Tuesday.

The $270 million LaSalle plant will include capability to service producers in the Niobrara Shale in the north and west of DCP's existing footprint. It is scheduled to be in service in mid-2013, the Denver-based company said.

"The DJ Basin continues to reinvent itself, particularly with this new phase of oil-driven development. Our footprint in Weld County positions DCP Midstream well for the growth in horizontal Niobrara Shale activity around our existing footprint as well as potential new Niobrara projects to the east and north of our asset," said Bill Waldheim, president of DCP's northern business unit.

The LaSalle plant is being funded through DCP Midstream's existing debt facilities and operating cash.

DCP Midstream, which is a 50-50 joint venture of Spectra Energy and ConocoPhillips, currently owns and operates seven processing plants with a combined capacity of 400 MMcf/d in the DJ Basin.

According to the latest NGI's Shale Daily Unconventional Rig Count, the Niobrara-DJ Basin had four rigs active in the first week of May, the same as at the same time last year. Meanwhile, there are 32 rigs running in the Piceance Basin currently, up two from the same period of 2010. The Uinta Basin has 22 rigs operating, up one from the 21 in action in 2010.