Looking to help handle the normal peaks and valleys in natural gas demand in the South, Dallas-based Atmos Energy Corp. subsidiary Atmos Pipeline and Storage LLC has submitted a pre-filing request with FERC to construct and operate a 15 Bcf salt-cavern gas storage project in Franklin Parish, LA.

The proposed development, known as Fort Necessity, would initially create three 5 Bcf caverns with six-turn injection and withdrawal capabilities. Pending regulatory approval, Atmos said the first cavern is projected to go into operation by early 2011, with the other two caverns in operation by 2012 and 2014. Based on market demand, four additional storage caverns could potentially be developed. The facility would use a naturally occurring underground salt formation.

Atmos said the storage facility would benefit local communities financially through annual parish property taxes.

The company also noted that the project's proposed location on a 500-acre site in northeastern Louisiana is advantageous due to its proximity to interconnects with major pipelines in the area. The storage site is approximately one mile from Tennessee Gas Pipeline's 30-inch diameter 800 Leg and Columbia Gulf's 30-inch diameter and 36-inch diameter mainlines and approximately eight miles from ANR Pipeline's 30-inch diameter and 36-inch diameter mainlines. Additionally, the site is about six miles from Regency Energy Partners' 30-inch diameter Winnsboro Extension, which is also connected to various other interstate pipelines, including Texas Gas, Gulf South and Trunkline.

Atmos said it plans to seek market-based rates for the project as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filing process.

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