Following a favorable nonbinding open season, Cheniere Energy Partners LP is initiating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pre-filing process with FERC for its proposed Cheniere Southern Trail Pipeline, previously known as the Louisiana Natural Gas Header, the company said last Wednesday.

Cheniere Creole Trail Pipeline LP has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval to place into service the Sabine Pass Segment of the Creole project on Feb. 15 in conjunction with commissioning activities at the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal.

In October FERC approved the merger of the affiliated Cheniere Creole Trail and Cheniere Sabine Pass pipelines into a single line to serve two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Cameron, LA (see NGI, Oct. 22, 2007). Creole Trail is to operate as an integrated 150.9-mile, 42-inch diameter system with a capacity of 2 Bcf/d, serving the proposed Cheniere Energy Creole Trail LNG terminal and Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass LNG terminal, which is expected to begin operation in April. The Creole Trail terminal is fully permitted, a spokesperson told NGI last week, but the company is "waiting on commercial need" to begin construction.

The Creole Trail terminal project was approved by FERC in June 2006 (see NGI, June 19, 2006), while the Sabine Pass LNG terminal got the green light to proceed in December 2004 (see NGI, Dec. 20, 2004).

As currently contemplated, the Cheniere Southern Trail Pipeline would involve the construction of approximately 348 miles of up to 42-inch diameter pipeline beginning in Acadia Parish near Eunice, LA, to an interconnect with Florida Gas Transmission near its Station 12 in Santa Rosa County, FL. It would carry 1 Bcf/d. Cheniere said it anticipates that the project could be placed into service as early as mid-2010. The nonbinding open season was held from Nov. 15, 2007 to Jan. 15 (see NGI, Nov. 19, 2007).

Southern Trail would have the potential to interconnect with pipelines accessing supplies from multiple LNG regasification facilities, including the Sabine Pass LNG, Trunkline LNG, Cameron LNG and Golden Pass LNG terminals, the company said.

A copy of the Southern Trail open season guidelines and map is available at www.cheniereenergypartners.com.

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