Mitchell Plans Second Bridgeport Expansion

One expansion just wasn't enough for Mitchell Energy & Development Co., which yesterday announced plans for a second add-on to its Bridgeport natural gas processing plant in North Texas. The expansion, planned for completion by July 2001, is expected to help the company double its capacity within a year, matching the rapidly growing gas production from Mitchell's Newark East Barnett Shale field.

The initial plant expansion by the Woodlands, TX-based company begins this month, increasing processing capacity by 100 MMcf/d to 310 MMcf/d. Maximum production of natural gas liquids at Bridgeport will increase by 8,000 bbl/d to 27,000 barrels. The second expansion will bring capacity to 430 MMcf/d and 37,000 bbl/d.

"These projects are being driven by the continuing success of our development drilling and recompletion programs in the Barnett Shale, including the recent decision to increase the number of rigs drilling to 12 by this coming February," said CEO George P. Mitchell. "We expect Bridgeport to be operating at full capacity early next year, just months after the first expansion comes onstream. Likewise, we expect that the capacity to be added in July will be fully utilized no later than early 2002."

Mitchell said that even though next year's volume forecasts are still being finalized, he expects the step-up in Barnett drilling and the plant expansions to "exceed the previously announced 20% volume growth rates."

The latest expansion, which is expected to cost $64 million, also includes construction of a 49-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline and the addition of 27,000 horsepower of compression to remove residue gas south from Bridgeport to two major gas transportation systems. The expansion would give Mitchell flexibility to sell its North Texas gas production into all of the major interstate transportation systems as well as local intrastate markets.

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