After getting the go-ahead from FERC, Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) said it plans to place into service Monday (Dec. 17) the 20,620 horsepower Wamsutter Compressor station, part of Phase II of the REX-Entrega system that will tie in with the rest of the nearly 1,700-mile REX pipeline in northern Colorado.

"Placing this [Wamsutter] compressor station in service prior to the rest of the Phase II facilities will allow gas to flow from western production areas [Pieance Basin and Green River Basin] to markets served by the REX-Entrega project," which interconnects with TransColorado, Overthrust and Questar pipelines, REX said. "All compressor units currently are completed for gas to flow at Wamsutter. The market seeks to have this gas flow to meet immediate winter demands."

REX sought, and received, FERC permission to place the Wamsutter Compressor Station facilities in service mid-month. Two other compressor stations, that are part of the Phase II expansion are the15,400 horsepower (hp) of compression at the Meeker Hub Compressor Station and 30,000 hp at the Big Hole Compressor Station in Moffat County, CO. [CP04-413]. The pipeline previously said it expected the Meeker Compressor to be in operation by no later than Jan. 1, 2008, while the Big Hole Compressor Station has until June 30, 2009 to be put into service.

The current capacity of the 327-mile REX-Entrega line is 1.5 Bcf/d, said REX spokesman Allen Fore. The throughput will increase to approximately 1.8 Bcf/d when all three compressors are in service.

The REX-Entrega project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in August 2005, and called for a 327-mile line to be built in two phases. Phase I of the pipeline extends from the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO, northward to the Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County, WY, and then southeastward to the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO. This part of the pipeline was placed into service in early 2006.

Upon completion of both Phase I and II, the facilities would connect at Cheyenne Hub with the Rockies Express-West (REX-West) portion of the pipeline system, which would extend to Audrain County, MO. There, the REX-West, which is scheduled for completion by Jan. 1, would interconnect with a number of major interstate pipeline systems that would take natural gas eastward. The next leg of the pipeline, REX-East, would terminate at Clarington, OH. It currently is in the permitting stage.

From Clarington, a number of proposals have been advanced to carry the gas into the Northeast (see separate story).

The $4 billion, 1,663-mile pipeline that will carry Rockies gas eastward to Ohio will be the largest built in the United States in more than 20 years. The REX pipeline is owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Sempra Pipelines & Storage and ConocoPhillips.

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