FERC last week approved Tres Palacios Gas Storage LLC's plan to place into commercial service immediately a third cavern at its facility in Matagorda County, TX, as well as Egan Hub Storage LLC's request to place additional storage capacity in service by mid-September.

Tres Palacios, a subsidiary of Westport, CT-based NGS Energy LP, already has received authorization to operate storage caverns one and two, as well as its gas handling facility and header pipeline system (see NGI, July 20, 2009). The facility is using existing underground salt caverns in the Markham Dome. With the third cavern it is expected to have a planned working capacity of 36.62 Bcf and the ability to inject up to 1 Bcf/d and withdraw up to 2.5 Bcf/d [CP07-90].

Tres Palacios is interconnected with 10 interstate and intrastate pipelines: Florida Gas Transmission, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line, Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, Central Texas Gathering System, Houston Pipe Line, Texas Eastern Transmission, Enterprise Texas, Enterprise Texas Intrastate and Kinder Morgan Tejas.

Egan Hub, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy, last Thursday received authorization to place into service approximately 9 Bcf of interim capacity in the fourth cavern at the existing storage facility in Acadia and Evangeline parishes, LA, as well as the remaining 8.5 miles of header pipeline. This would make the header system 16.5 miles long [CP07-88].

The expanded header line, which begins at the Egan Hub facility and terminates at the Texas Gas Transmission M&R station, allows Egan to receive and deliver gas to regasified liquefied natural gas takeaway pipelines in the region and to meet the increased demand for capacity at the Texas Eastern Transmission and Texas Gas M&R stations, according to Egan Hub.

In July 2009 Egan Hub received clearance from the Commission to place the fourth cavern into operation with an interim capacity of approximately 5.5 Bcf. When completed, the Egan Hub site is expected to have more than 30 Bcf of capacity.

In another storage development, the Commission last Wednesday granted Liberty Gas Storage LLC a three-year extension of the deadline to complete the construction and place in operation an expansion of its storage facilities.

The expansion facilities, which are to be sited in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes, LA, were supposed to be completed within 18 months of the June 2009 approval of the project (by December 2010). But Liberty Gas Storage, which is jointly owned by Sempra Energy and ProLiance Transportation and Storage, said it doubted it would make the deadline, and asked for an extension until December 2013.

"Liberty states that the requested extension will provide [it] with sufficient time and flexibility to contract with potential customers and arrange financing upon reasonable terms. Liberty states that this requested extension is consistent with extensions that the Commission has recently granted to other natural gas storage projects under similar circumstances," the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order said [CP08-454].

The expansion project calls for the addition of four high-deliverability natural gas storage caverns -- three of which would be converted from existing salt caverns and one that would be newly developed -- as well as associated pipeline facilities.

Upon conversion, Liberty said the three existing caverns would store 15.75 Bcf of natural gas, of which 12.40 Bcf would be working gas and 3.35 Bcf would be base gas. The newly developed cavern would storage approximately 8.25 Bcf of natural gas, of which 6.50 Bcf would be working gas and 1.75 Bcf of base gas, according to the company.

In 2007 Sempra and ProLiance placed into service the first of the Liberty Gas Storage facilities, which provide 17 Bcf of high-deliverability storage services to shippers on several pipelines.

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