Questar Overthrust Pipeline Co. is holding an open season for a potential expansion of its system to meet growing production volumes anticipated from the Green River, Uinta and Piceance basins that will feed the next generation of Rockies export pipelines.

The planned expansion would enable shippers and producers to access long-haul pipelines -- both in-service and proposed -- going out of the Rocky Mountain region in all directions through connections with El Paso Ruby Pipeline Project, Kern River Expansion Project, Spectra Energy's Bronco Pipeline Project, Northwest Pipeline/GTN's Sunstone Project, Rockies Express Pipeline (REX), REX/NGPL pipeline to Chicago, and any other long-haul pipeline projects currently being marketed.

Overthrust is offering three options to allow expanded receipt and delivery capability connecting the Opal, Wamsutter and White River hubs:

In February Questar CEO Keith Rattie said the company's recently completed Overthrust pipeline, which connects with REX, could be used as the basis for a master limited partnership (MLP) that would help fund new interstate pipelines taking Rockies supplies east during the next six years (see NGI, Feb. 18). In October Rattie told financial analysts the company would be stepping up to fulfill future takeaway capacity needs of Rockies producers, including its own production (see NGI, Oct. 29, 2007).

"We told the [Questar] board that we're going to give our pipeline team a new mandate, and that's to be the catalyst to make another major Rockies export pipeline project happen sooner rather than later," Rattie said in October. "If you believe the production growth promises that Rockies producers are making to their investors, we're going back to 'basis-blowoutsville' in the Rockies in 2011 or 2012, even with the completion of the final phase of REX. So the next major pipeline project, which could take up to four years from inception to start-up, the work needs to start now."

Rattie was quick to note that Questar doesn't have an existing export pipeline franchise out of the Rockies that it needs to defend. It does, however, have gas production that needs to get to market, "so our pipeline team can be objective in facilitating this dialogue with both Rockies producers and end-users about where the next pipe needs to go."

Questar's Overthrust was an early piece of the REX puzzle as the project was coming together (see NGI, Nov. 28, 2005).

The open season will close at noon MDT on April 4. The determination of the exact facilities required for Questar's latest proposed expansion will be based on the response to open season. Overthrust said it anticipates that new facilities can be in service by Jan. 1, 2011. However, if support for the project is finalized within the time frame requested in the open season, an in-service date for partial volumes may be made available a year earlier. For more information contact Overthrust marketing representatives Mary Kay Olson at (801) 324-5873 or Gaylen Haag at (801) 324-5133, or visit www.questarpipeline.com.

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