The start-up date for the western portion of the Rockies Express Pipeline, known as REX-West, has become a moving target. Sponsors are now projecting that service on the bulk of REX-West will begin on or about Jan. 12.

REX has gotten the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to place into service approximately 500 miles of the REX-West portion of the massive pipeline, from the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO, to the first mainline valve east of the REX-West/ANR Meter Station in Brown County, KS, which is located north of Topeka. The throughput will be approximately 1.8 Bcf/d.

"At this time, service from the WIC [Wyoming Interstate Co.] receipt point at Cheyenne [WY] is still anticipated to be in service on or about Jan. 12. Service from the Echo Springs [compressor] plant is currently anticipated to be available on or about Jan. 21. 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 main pipeline system," according to a Jan. 3 project update.

The remaining 213 miles of the 713-mile REX-West project, running eastward from Brown County to Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line in Audrain County, MO, are projected to be in full service in early February, the project update said. The in-service dates are fluid and hinge on the weather conditions and progress during the commissioning process.

The nearly 1,700-mile REX pipeline system is being built in three main sections, including the 327-mile REX-Entrega line, the REX-West leg and the REX-East portion, which would take gas from Audrain County to Clarington, OH. The REX-Entrega 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.

Most of the REX-Entrega project, which would inject 1.5 Bcf/d into REX-West, is in service. The REX-Entrega line interconnects with the TransColorado Gas Transmission, Overthrust and Questar pipelines, providing natural produced from western basins, such as the Pieance and Green River basins, with access to new markets. <> On the western end of REX-Entrega Questar's Overthrust Pipeline notified FERC Thursday that it has completed construction of its entire Wamsutter Expansion Project in Wyoming and the facilities are now available for service. The expansion includes 77.2 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline in Sweetwater County, WY, and two new compressor stations.

The facilities extend from the eastern terminus of Overthrust's transmission system to an interconnect with the Rockies Express-Entrega pipeline at the Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County. The expansion nearly doubles the size of Overthrust to 165 miles. Overthrust has entered into an agreement with REX to provide firm transportation capacity of up to 625,000 Dth/d for 20 years from the Opal Hub to the Wamsutter Hub. <>REX would then transport these volumes through REX-West, for delivery to Midwest markets.

The related TransColorado Blanco-to-Meeker expansion went into operation on Jan. 3. TransColorado's project will support flows into the massive REX 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.

REX-West, when in full operation, will interconnect with a number of major interstate pipeline systems that will take natural gas eastward. The REX-East portion of the project is still in the permitting stage.

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

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