Targeting the expanding Barnett Shale and Bossier Sands plays, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) will expand two of its major Texas intrastate gas pipeline systems, the company said last week.

In southeast Texas, ETP will expand its ETC Katy Pipeline with the installation of 56 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline and the addition of 20,000 hp of compression. This expansion will increase capacity from 700 MMcf/d to more than 1.1 Bcf/d.

In East Texas, ETP will expand its newly constructed 42-inch diameter Cleburne to Carthage pipeline from the Houston Pipe Line interconnect at Texoma to Carthage (the Carthage Loop), adding 500 MMcf/d of capacity to Carthage. The Carthage Loop will include the installation of 32 miles of 42-inch diameter pipe.

Capital expenditures for the two projects will total approximately $260 million with construction expected to begin in June 2008. The projects are expected to be in service by September 2008.

ETP said it has received broad-based producer support for the expansions, including commitments from major North American independent producers such as XTO Energy Inc., Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Quicksilver Resources Inc., and regional independent Gastar Exploration Ltd.

"These two projects demonstrate our commitment to meet the expanding needs of natural gas producers and consumers across Texas and across the nation," said Mackie McCrea, president of ETP's midstream operations. "We are pleased to be able to respond rapidly by adding critical capacity and expanding market options for producers and shippers."

ETP's pipeline infrastructure allows gas producers and shippers in the key producing regions of Texas to access a broad range of markets, including the principal Texas trading hubs of Waha, Carthage and Katy, a majority of the citygates and power plants in Texas and many interstate pipelines.

This spring ETP completed the final phase of its 42-inch diameter pipeline project to connect its 36-inch North Texas Pipeline, its Barnett Shale pipeline system and its Bethel Storage Facility to the Carthage Hub and other intrastate and interstate pipelines.

Getting growing gas production out of the Barnett Shale to eastern markets has been on the minds of other pipeline operators as well, with both intrastate and interstate projects proposed, under way and recently completed (see NGI, Oct. 1).

According to Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) statistics, Barnett Shale production has been growing steadily. In 2004, gas well production from the Newark, East Field -- what the RRC calls the productive portion of the Barnett Shale -- was 380 Bcf. It was 500 Bcf in 2005; 686 Bcf in 2006; and for the period January-May 2007 production was 302 Bcf, on track to surpass the full-year 2006 total. Similarly, the number of drilling permits issued for the play also has increased steadily, from 1,112 in 2004 to 1,630 in 2005 to 2,519 in 2006 and 2,142 for January-July 2007. As of Aug. 15 there were 161 operators in the field, according to the RRC.

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