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Rockies Alliance Pipeline's Open Season Secures Initial 500 MMcf/d

Alliance Pipeline Inc. and Questar Overthrust Pipeline Co.'s proposed Rockies Alliance Pipeline (RAP) -- which would transport gas from Opal and Wamsutter, WY, and Meeker, CO, to Alliance Pipeline delivery points in the Chicago area -- received a "positive response" from prospective shippers during an open season that closed on June 16, according to the companies.

The initial support totaling approximately 500 MMcf/d would come from both Rockies producers and Midwest markets and demonstrates the value of RAP to offer "seamless service" while delivering natural gas to U.S. and Canadian markets, its sponsors said. The pipe project was first proposed in March (see NGI, March 31).

"Since the open season began May 15, we've had strong interest from prospective shippers in the Rockies Alliance Pipeline project," said Alliance Pipeline CEO Murray Birch. "The Rockies Alliance Pipeline will provide increased transportation and supply options to the Chicago market area through the Alliance system, which connects to Guardian, Vector, Peoples, Nicor, ANR, NGPL and Midwestern pipeline systems. Both the producers and end-users have acknowledged that RAP is best suited to match the growing Rockies production with the large Midwest market demand."

Alliance and Questar Overthrust said they will continue to work with prospective shippers to fully subscribe capacity of the pipeline to 1.3 Bcf/d. Initially the 875-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline system will have a capacity of 1.3 Bcf/d and is expandable to 1.8 Bcf/d with the addition of compression.

"We're encouraged by both producer and end-user interest in our project. Natural gas production in the northern Rockies is up about 15% from a year ago," said Questar Overthrust Pipeline CEO Allan Bradley. "We are focused on quickly refining our design and completing negotiations with other shippers to fast-track the Rockies Alliance Pipeline so gas supplies from this fast-growing producing region can be delivered to Midwestern and Eastern markets."

Bradley added that a simultaneous open season held by his company also faired well. "Questar Overthrust's concurrent open season was very successful," he said. "It included requests for over 1 Bcf/d of new pipeline capacity to access Rocky Mountain export hubs such as Wamsutter for delivery into Rockies Alliance Pipeline."

Once RAP has received the necessary support for its project, Alliance and Questar Overthrust said they will proceed with the first phase of the engineering and environmental work. The companies are also planning to request permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to participate in the agency's pre-filing process.

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