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A public comment period is open through Aug. 10 on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for El Paso Corp.'s Ruby Pipeline Project, which would carry up to 1.5 million Dth/d of natural gas about 675 miles from Wyoming to Oregon. The draft EIS was issued in June by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff (see NGI, June 22) to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. It evaluates, analyzes and discloses the direct, indirect and cumulative environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.ferc.gov or efiling@ferc.gov. Comments by mail, which should include an original and two copies, should be sent to Kimberly D. Bose, secretary, FERC, 888 First St. NE, Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426. Reference Docket No. CP09-54-000 and label one copy to the attention of the Gas Branch 1, PJ-11.1. Public meetings to discuss the project also are scheduled this month in each of the affected states, which also include Utah and Nevada. For more information contact National Project Manager Mark Mackiewicz at (435) 636-3616, or 125 South 600 West, Price, UT 84501.

The Wyoming office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved Bill Barrett Corp.'s proposal to drill seven exploratory natural gas wells in the McCullough Peaks area east of Cody, WY. Denver-based Bill Barrett, a Rocky Mountain producer, proposes to drill the exploratory gas wells within the Rocktober Unit Project of the McCullough Peaks area, which would result in an estimated 155 acres of initial surface disturbance. Of the seven proposed wells, BLM said that so far it has received three applications for permits to drill in the Cretaceous Cody Shale. If natural gas is found in sufficient quantities, Bill Barrett has proposed a network of pipelines to transport produced gas from the wells to a proposed compressor station, and then on to the existing Colorado Interstate Gas pipeline.

Oklahoma City-based Quest Resource Corp. (QRCP) and its related partnerships plan to merge and form a publicly traded corporation focused on unconventional resource development in the Marcellus Shale and the Cherokee Basin. Still to be officially named, "NewGasCo" would combine QRCP, Quest Energy Partners LP (QELP) and Quest Midstream Partners LP (QMLP). The merger is expected to be completed by year's end. At closing, NewGasCo's board of directors would be comprised of nine directors, including three existing independent directors of QELP, three existing directors of QMLP, two existing independent directors now on the QRCP board, and the CEO of the Quest entities.

FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment of Pine Prairie Energy Center LLC's proposal to double the working gas capacity of its storage project near the Henry Hub in Louisiana to 48 Bcf. Pine Prairie proposes to develop two additional caverns, each with capacity of 12.8 Bcf, bringing the total number of its caverns to five, and to increase the working capacity of two of the three previously FERC-authorized caverns to 10 Bcf from 8 Bcf, yielding aggregate working capacity of 48 Bcf among the five caverns, according to the company (see NGI, Feb. 16). It also plans to install one additional raw water withdrawal well and an additional saltwater disposal well; a 5.3-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline loop and six incremental compression units totaling 34,800 hp [CP04-379]. Pine Prairie, which is owned by Houston-based PAA/Vulcan Gas Storage LLC, has asked the Commission to approve the project on or before Aug. 1. The expanded storage facility, located in Evangeline Parish, LA, is targeted for service in early 2011, the company said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) increased its Dawson Creek, BC, investigations team following two more bombings along EnCana Corp. natural gas pipeline sites. A pipeline blast in late June damaged a gas wellhead near Pouce Coupe, which is south of Dawson Creek. Crews were repairing the damage when the second blast occurred in the same area on July 4, officials said. EnCana was able to shut the pipeline with no injuries and minimal damage, officials said. RCMP said it has no leads in the attacks, but the incidents are said to be similar to four previous bombings on EnCana pipelines that occurred in late 2008 and early January (see NGI, Jan. 19).

Another landfill energy project along the Pacific Coast west of Silicon Valley opened at the start of July, promising 11.5 MW of power for local utilities from the Ox Mountain facility in Half Moon Bay, CA. It is a project spawned by Massachusetts energy services firm Ameresco Inc. and Republic Services Inc., the waste management firm operating Ox Mountain. In operation since 1976, Ox Mountain is slated to continue receiving garbage for another 35 years, creating more landfill methane gas. Ameresco uses the landfill gas to produce electricity with on-site generating equipment. The plant was commissioned July 1.

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