A unit of Williams is answering the call to move Rockies gas supply traveling on the Rockies Express pipeline from that system's terminus in Ohio into lucrative eastern U.S. gas markets.

The company is holding an open season through Oct. 29 to gauge interest in a proposed interstate gas pipeline that would connect Rockies supplies to Northeast markets.

Williams said its proposed Rockies Connector Pipeline would extend approximately 250 miles, connecting its Transco Station 195 in York County, PA, to the eastern terminus of REX, which is being developed by a consortium of third parties (see NGI, Sept. 17). The nearly 1,700-mile REX originates in the Piceance Basin in Rio Blanco County, CO. The capacity, scope and cost of Rockies Connector will be determined by open season results.

The company expects the pipeline to transport approximately 688,000 Dth/d, or enough energy to heat about three million homes. Firm transportation service is anticipated to be available by November 2010.

"The Rockies Connector Pipeline would provide a vital link to connect the Rocky Mountain supply basins with existing infrastructure currently serving the natural gas demand in the Northeast," said Phil Wright, president of Williams' natural gas pipeline business. "We believe the size of our proposed Rockies Connector Pipeline is appropriate for the expected market commitment," Wright said, "and would be in service at the right time to serve customer needs.

"Additionally, the proposed Rockies Connector Pipeline will help alleviate the infrastructure constraints in the Rockies, extend the reach of natural gas from those basins and bring supply diversity to some of the nation's largest markets in the Northeast."

In a recent report, Bentek Energy LLC pointed out the need for additional capacity to move gas supplies eastward from the REX terminus at Clarington (see NGI, Aug. 13). Texas Eastern Transmission is in the midst of an open season for incremental pipeline capacity on a proposed "Northern Bridge" expansion involving new facilities that will extend from the REX termination at Clarington to Oakford, PA, in the Philadelphia-Camden metropolitan area (see NGI, Sept. 10).

Williams' Transco pipeline system delivers about half of the natural gas consumed in New York City, as well as serving other East Coast markets. Gas delivered via the Rockies Connector Pipeline would be available to Transco shippers and other interstate pipelines serving the Northeast. The Transco system stretches from the Gulf Coast up the Eastern Seaboard to serve major markets in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

One REX-related project on the supply end, announced last month, is a header system proposed by Questar Pipeline Co. and an affiliate of Enterprise Products Partners LP in Colorado (see NGI, Sept 3).

Last year REX owners announced that they had secured commitments for the entire 1.8 Bcf/d of planned firm transportation capacity on the REX project (see NGI, March 6, 2006). The initial 136-mile segment of the pipeline from the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO to the Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County, WY was approved for service in early 2006 (see NGI, Jan. 30, 2006). Construction on the 191-mile portion from Wamsutter to the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO was placed in service in February (see NGI, Feb 19).

Rockies Connector Pipeline will be subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies. For customer inquiries, contact Gary Duvall at (713) 215-2589.

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