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CIG Awaits FERC OK to Start Up High Plains Expansion

Colorado Interstate Gas Co. (CIG) last Wednesday asked FERC for the go-ahead to place in service later this month an expansion of its system to serve growing natural gas demand along the Colorado Front Range, particularly in the Denver metropolitan area.

The El Paso Corp. pipeline subsidiary is seeking authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by no later than Nov. 21 to start up the High Plains expansion.

The High Plains project, which FERC approved earlier this year, includes 164 miles of 24-inch and 30-inch diameter pipeline, in four separate segments, and associated above-ground facilities in Weld, Adams and Morgan counties in Colorado (see NGI, March 24). The expansion increases deliveries by up to 900 MMcf/d to meet the growing demand of residential, commercial and industrial customers, as well as gas-fired power generation facilities. The $216 million project was built by a joint venture of CIG and Xcel Energy called WYCO Development LLC.

The expansion facilities connect with Public Service of Colorado (PSCo), which has subscribed for most of the capacity. Other connections are with CIG affiliate Wyoming Interstate Co. Ltd., Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) and Young Gas Storage.

To avoid unnecessary costs and environmental/landowner impacts, CIG plans included refunctionalizing a portion of its Crazy Horse Lateral, which is located near the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, to allow the High Plains pipe facilities to directly connect with the REX pipeline without having to construct extensive interconnecting facilities, the pipeline said.

In addition, the project called for CIG to refunctionalize its small Blue Spruce Lateral near Watkins Compressor Station in Adams County to achieve the same result.

CIG said it has entered into a precedent agreement with PSCo to provide a maximum daily quantity (MDQ) of 874,000 Dth/d of capacity on the expansion facilities for an initial contract term of approximately 21.5 years. It also executed a precedent agreement with Coral Energy for an MDQ of 25,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service (see NGI, May 14, 2007).

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