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Midcontinent Express Pipe Project Gets FERC Nod

FERC Friday issued a favorable final environmental review of the the proposed Midcontinent Express Pipeline (MEP), which would give shale producers in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma access to eastern markets.

"If the proposed project is approved and is constructed and operated in accordance with MEP's proposed minimization and mitigation measures, our recommended mitigation measures and applicable laws and regulations, the proposed facilities would result in limited adverse environmental impacts," the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the project [CP08-6]. The FEIS puts Midcontinent Express one step away from receiving a certificate from the agency.

The nearly $1.3 billion project calls for the construction of 506 miles of 30-, 36- and 42-inch diameter interstate natural gas pipeline extending from Bryan County, OK, to a terminus in Choctaw County, AL; a 4.2-mile 16- and 24-inch diameter lateral pipeline in Richland and Madison Parishes, LA; a total of approximately 111,720 hp of compression at one booster and four new mainline compressor stations; and associated facilities, according to the FEIS.

The pipeline would consist of approximately 265 miles of 42-inch diameter, 196 miles of 36-inch diameter and 41 miles of 30-inch diameter pipe, and have up to 13 receipt/delivery interconnections. The delivery interconnections would provide access to numerous downstream markets, including those served by Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line, Texas Eastern Transmission , Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Columbia Gulf Transmission, Texas Gas Transmission, Southern Natural Gas, Destin Pipeline and ANR Pipeline.

The company said construction on the pipeline, which would have an initial capacity of 1.4 Bcf/d and travel from Oklahoma to Alabama, is expected to begin in August of this year, pending regulatory approvals, with operation targeted for the first quarter of 2009.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Energy Transfer Partners LP each own a 45% interest in Midcontinent Express. MarkWest Pioneer LLC, a subsidiary of MarkWest Energy Partners LP, in January entered into an option agreement to acquire 10% of the equity of Midcontinent Express after construction is completed and it is placed into service.

The pipeline project is in response to robust natural gas production in Oklahoma and North Texas. It would help move gas eastward to markets in Florida and the Northeast.

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