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Pipelines Receive Operating Pressure Clearances

October 12, 2009
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The Pipelines Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has authorized increases in the maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) from 0.72 to 0.8 design on portions of the Midcontinent Express (MEP) and Rockies Express (REX) pipelines and on all of the Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline. Additionally, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP's Texas Gas Transmission LLC subsidiary received authorization to operate its Fayetteville and Greenville laterals at standard operating pressures (0.72).

MEP has received authorization to increase MAOP on a portion of its Zone 1, enabling it to serve its full current contracted capacity level. The 500-mile MEP originates in southeast Oklahoma, crosses northeast Texas, northern Louisiana, central Mississippi and ends in Alabama. MEP will increase to the 0.8 design MAOP on approximately 267 miles of Zone 1 from Paris, TX, to Delhi, LA. This will boost firm deliverable capacity to 1.4 Bcf/d on that portion of the pipeline. MEP Zone 2 extends from Delhi to Transcontinental Pipe Line's Station 85 in Butler, AL, and has a current capacity of nearly 1 Bcf/d.

MEP's capacity, including expansions (see NGI, Sept. 21), is fully subscribed with long-term binding commitments. MEP is owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) and Energy Transfer Partners LP. KMP operates the pipeline. MEP was approved for construction last year (see NGI, Aug. 4, 2008). The pipeline serves shale gas producers in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, giving them access to southern and eastern markets.

REX, which transports gas from the Rockies to Ohio, is now authorized to transport natural gas at the 0.8 design MAOP from the Cheyenne Hub in Colorado to the Lebanon Hub in Ohio. This will boost firm deliverable capacity to 1.8 Bcf/d upon implementation of the 0.8 design. Nearly all of the capacity on the pipeline has been subscribed with long-term binding commitments (see NGI, Aug. 31). Construction is being completed on the final 195 miles of the 1,679-mile line, which will terminate in Clarington, OH. The final leg is expected to be in service by Nov. 1, at which time REX plans to request authorization to operate this portion of the pipeline at the 0.8 design MAOP. REX is a venture of KMP, Sempra Pipelines and Storage and ConocoPhillips.

The Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline, a 133-mile line that transports gas to multiple pipeline interconnects from the Cheniere Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas terminal in Louisiana, will increase to the 0.8 design MAOP on the entire pipeline. It has 3.2 Bcf/d of capacity that has been fully subscribed for 20 years by Chevron and TOTAL, KMP said (see NGI, June 22).

Also last week, Texas Gas Transmission said it had completed remediation of pipe anomalies on its Fayetteville and Greenville laterals and they were cleared to operate at standard pressure. "The pipe anomalies have been remediated on all of Boardwalk's expansion pipeline projects and all of these projects are now approved to operate at standard operating pressures," said Boardwalk CEO Rolf Gafvert. He said the company is working with PHMSA to obtain authority to operate its projects at higher pressures.

The Fayetteville lateral consists of 165 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline and originates in Conway County, AR, and proceeds to an interconnect with the Texas Gas mainline in Coahoma County, MS. The Greenville lateral consists of 95 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline and originates at the Texas Gas mainline near Greenville, MS, and proceeds to Kosciusko, MS.

In July Boardwalk's Gulf South Pipeline Co. LP completed remediation of anomalies on its East Texas and Southeast pipeline projects and received authorization to operate them at standard operating pressures (see NGI, Aug. 3). In June Boardwalk said it had remediated anomalies on its 356-mile Gulf Crossing Pipeline (see NGI, July 6).

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