FERC has issued a favorable final environmental review of Colorado Interstate Gas Co.'s (CIG) proposed expansion of its system to serve growing natural gas demand along the Colorado Front Range, particularly in the Denver metropolitan area.

"The High Plains Expansion Project, with appropriate mitigating measures, as recommended, would have limited adverse environmental impact," said the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the project [CP07-207].

A key reason for the favorable FEIS was CIG's decision to colocate about 84 miles, or 51% of the proposed route, within existing utility rights-of-way, the Commission staff said.

The High Plains project calls for the construction of 164 miles of 24-inch and 30-inch diameter pipeline, in four separate segments, and associated above-ground facilities in Weld, Adams and Morgan counties in Colorado. The proposed expansion would deliver up to 900 MMcf/d. The facilities would connect with Public Service of Colorado (PSCo), which has subscribed for most of the capacity. Other connections would be with CIG affiliate Wyoming Interstate Co. Ltd., Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) and Young Gas Storage.

To avoid unnecessary costs and environmental/landowner impacts, CIG proposes to refunctionalize a portion of its Crazy Horse Lateral, which is located near the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County. This would allow the High Plains pipe facilities to directly connect with the REX pipeline without having to construct extensive interconnecting facilities, CIG said.

In addition, CIG proposes to refunctionalize its small Blue Spruce Lateral near Watkins Compressor Station in Adams County to achieve the same result.

CIG said it had entered into a precedent agreement with PSCo to provide a maximum daily quantity (MDQ) of 874,000 Dth/d of capacity on the expansion facilities for an initial contract term of approximately 21.5 years. It also has executed a precedent agreement with Coral Energy for an MDQ of 25,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service (see NGI, May 14, 2007).

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