Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (REX) is considering extending its Northeast Express project an additional 40 miles from the Princeton, NJ, area to a point of interconnection with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) downstream of its Linden regulator station located near Linden, NJ. The regulator station has been a long-time constraint point on the Transco system.

In December REX officials reported that requests for service during an open season for the Northeast expansion totaled more than 1.8 Bcf/d, exceeding the pipeline's initial design estimate (see NGI, Dec. 17, 2007). As set out in the open season, the Northeast Express Project was envisioned as a 375-mile extension of the REX pipeline from near Clarington, OH, to the vicinity of Princeton with a design capacity of 1,500,000 Dth/d.

Officials from REX, a $4.4 billion joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP), Sempra Pipelines and Storage and ConocoPhillips, said they anticipate that some prospective shippers on the project may desire to contract for capacity to the Princeton-area delivery points set out in the open season, and that other prospective shippers may desire to contract for capacity to Transco at the Linden delivery point. REX is in discussions with prospective shippers interested in contracting for capacity to the Linden delivery point, they said. In the event demand for the Linden delivery point exceeds the amount of capacity that REX determines it can economically construct to Linden, REX will contract for capacity to Linden on a first-come, first-served basis.

REX has said it anticipates regulatory approval for the Northeast Express -- 375 miles of new 42-inch diameter pipeline, which will extend REX's route from Clarington, OH, and add capacity to receive volumes from Lebanon, OH, to the endpoint in Princeton, NJ -- by December 2009 with construction beginning in April 2010 (see NGI, Jan. 21). Pipeline officials have also said they are reconsidering a long-shelved idea with Kinder Morgan's Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America (NGPL) connecting the Meeker and Opal hubs in the Rockies to Chicago.

REX began interim service in January with capacity of about 1.4 Bcf/d on approximately 500 miles of REX-West from the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO, to the ANR delivery point in Brown County, KS. The operational section of the pipeline also includes delivery points to Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission, Northern Natural Gas Co. and NGPL. The remaining 213-mile section of REX-West will continue eastward to Audrain County, MO. REX officials said they expect to begin deliveries at Clarington near the end of the year. In total, REX-West is a 713-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline.

The eastern segment of project, known as REX-East, will extend 640 miles from Missouri to Clarington. That portion of the project has received a favorable draft environmental impact review at FERC (see NGI, Dec. 3, 2007), and service could begin as early as Dec. 30 with full operations by June 2009.

When completed the 1,678-mile pipeline will have capacity of approximately 1.8 Bcf/d.

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