As the pieces of the massive Rockies Express (REX) pipeline continue to fall into place, the in-service dates for some facilities have proven to be moving targets, as was evidenced last week by a construction update from REX.

REX-West was poised to begin interim service Jan. 1, 2008, or shortly thereafter, with Rockies gas traveling as far east as the ANR Pipeline delivery point, according to a Dec. 20 construction update from the company. TransColorado Gas Transmission's Blanco to Meeker expansion feeding into REX also will be start-up Jan. 1.

Mainline purging and packing operations are under way. However, service into Rockies Express from the Wyoming Interstate Co. (WIC) at its receipt point interconnect at Cheyenne, WY, could be delayed until Jan. 12 as work remains to complete necessary WIC facilities, the update said. REX said its interconnection facilities at the point are complete.

Further, REX said, service from the Echo Springs processing plant could also be delayed until Jan. 12 because work on a compressor necessary to receive gas from Echo Springs is not yet complete. However, pipeline facilities needed to receive gas from Echo Springs are complete. "All other receipt and delivery points on the REX system upstream of the ANR delivery point are expected to be placed into service at the same time as the mainline pipeline system," REX said.

The initial 713-mile REX-West segment of 42-inch pipe carrying gas out of the Rockies to an interconnection with the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline (PEPL) in Audrain County, MO is expected to be in full service in early February.

"Interim service on the Rockies Express system as far east as the ANR delivery point is now expected to commence on Jan. 1, 2008, or shortly thereafter, depending upon weather conditions, continued progress during the commissioning process and receipt of all final regulatory approvals," REX said. "Rockies Express continues to expect that full service on the REX system to the PEPL system in Audrain County, MO, will be available in early February."

At one point there had been a possibility that service through the mainline would begin in mid-December.

TransColorado Gas Transmission Co. last Friday received authorization from FERC to begin service on its Blanco to Meeker expansion, and the company told NGI that start-up would be Jan. 1 on the fully subscribed system.

TransColorado's project will support flows into the massive REX-West pipeline and permit TransColorado to transport up to an additional 250,000 Dth/d of gas from the Blanco Hub area in San Juan County, NM, through its existing pipeline to REX at an existing point of interconnection located at the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO (see NGI, Dec. 17).

The Rockies Express pipeline is sponsored by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Sempra Pipelines & Storage and ConocoPhillips. Kinder Morgan also operates the 317-mile TransColorado system, which serves Colorado and New Mexico.

Blanco to Meeker expansion as originally proposed consists of two new compressor stations, additional compression at one existing station, piping changes at three other existing compressor stations and approximately 1,300 feet of 24-inch diameter receipt pipeline and a meter south of the Blanco Compressor Station. The pipeline said Tuesday it no longer intends to construct a proposed compressor unit at Greasewood and will seek, through a separate certificate amendment, to construct the unit at an alternative location at the north end of the pipeline. Also, plans for the meter south of the Blanco Station have been scrapped.

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