EnergySouth Midstream said it received expressions of interest for more than 20 Bcf of natural gas storage capacity during a recently ended open season, more than three times the capacity that will be available at the first cavern under development at its Mississippi Hub facility.

When construction of the facility is completed at the Bond Salt Dome Structure in the Mississippi Salt Basin, Mississippi Hub will allow access to traditional gas supplies in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Gulf Coast as well as emerging production from the Barnett Shale, East Texas and northern Louisiana.

"The robust expression of interest validates our belief that this project is in the right place at the right time and will provide a much needed addition to the existing natural gas infrastructure," said EnergySouth Midstream's Russell Murrell, vice president of marketing.

The open season ended Jan. 25. EnergySouth Midstream, a subsidiary of EnergySouth Inc., is preparing a filing to seek authority to amend its existing FERC certificate.

Murrell said the filing will include a proposal to expand by 1.5 Bcf capacity for each permitted cavern at Mississippi Hub and expansion of the pipeline header system to include interconnects with Southeast Supply Header LLC and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line. Mississippi Hub currently holds Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certificates for the development and operation of two salt dome caverns with a combined working gas capacity of 12 Bcf and the construction of a pipeline interconnect with Sonat. If approved, the 3 Bcf expansion would increase Mississippi Hub's permitted capacity to a total of 15 Bcf.

The storage facility, which was approved by FERC one year ago, is scheduled to be built in two phases, with the first of the two caverns to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2009 and the second cavern to be in service by mid-2011 (see NGI, Feb. 19, 2007). Plans approved by FERC called for two 8.67 Bcf caverns, with a combined working gas storage capacity of 12 Bcf. It would be capable of delivering natural gas at a rate of approximately 1.2 Bcf/d and would have a maximum injection rate of 600 MMcf/d.

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