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Tetco REX-Related Project Gets FERC Thumbs-Up

FERC has issued a certificate to Spectra Energy's Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipeline to build the proposed Northern Bridge project to deliver Rocky Mountain natural gas to Mid-Atlantic and New England markets.

The project calls for the installation of new compression facilities on the Tetco system to transport up to 150 MMcf/d on a firm basis from the growing Clarington, OH, supply point, which is the terminus of the 1,678-mile Rockies Express Pipeline (REX), to the Oakford/Delmont, PA, region, giving Rocky Mountains producers access to several interstate pipeline and storage options.

Tetco proposes to increase the overall compression at two of its existing compressor stations in Pennsylvania -- Holbrook Compressor Station in Greene County and the Union Compressor Station in Fayette County -- by a total of 10,666 hp. The project has an anticipated in-service date of Nov. 1, 2009.

Following an open season in 2007, Tetco said it entered into precedent agreements with BP Energy Co. and Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc. for the entire capacity of the project for terms of 10 years at negotiated rates.

"The fact that Texas Eastern has entered into long-term precedent agreements for 100% of the design capacity of the project demonstrates market support for the project...Accordingly, we conclude that approval of the Northern Bridge Project is required by the public convenience and necessity," said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order [CP08-100].

FERC also approved Tetco's request to roll in the $45 million cost of the Northern Bridge Project into its existing rates in a future rate case, and accepted its proposal to charge its existing system recourse rates for services using the project's expansion capacity.

In addition to Northern Bridge, Tetco is pursuing its proposed Texas Eastern Incremental Market Expansion (TIME) III project, an expansion of the pipeline from Oakford to Northeast markets through additional compression and pipeline looping. The project, which also would provide Rockies producers with greater market access, will have an estimated cost of $300 million and is targeted for service in late 2010, Spectra Energy said.

The announcement of the TIME III expansion came less than a month after Tetco began testing the waters for the Northern Bridge project (see NGI, Oct. 8, 2007).

Capitalizing on the massive REX pipeline, the TIME III project would provide the Northeast with greater access to new volumes of gas from emerging Rocky Mountain supply and market-area storage. The project would provide approximately 120 MMcf/d of additional capacity along a path from Oakford to Station 195 on the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line system in York County, PA.

A binding open season, which concluded in November 2007, attracted requests for more than 325,000 Dth/d in transportation services (see NGI, Dec. 3, 2007). Tetco held a second open season last May.

Spectra Energy is only one of many pipelines that are planning to build projects from the terminus of REX in Ohio to Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. Other companies that are moving forward with similar projects include REX itself, El Paso and Equitable Resources, Dominion Resources, Iroquois Gas Transmission and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line.

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