El Paso Considers Expansion of Willcox Lateral

El Paso Corp. said that it has received several inquires regarding the expandability of the Willcox Lateral to serve new markets off the east leg of the lateral. Of the 130,000 Mcf/d of capacity on the Willcox Lateral, 92,166 Mcf/d has been subscribed, leaving 37,834 Mcf/d of un-subscribed capacity available. The lateral runs 60 miles from the El Paso mainline in Cochise County, AZ, to border crossing facilities and is aimed at serving several existing and proposed gas-fired power plants in Mexico's northern state of Sonora.

In late August, El Paso announced completion of all construction on the lateral and said it had received approval from Mexico's Pemex to connect it to Pemex facilities at the international border (see NGI, May 3). The company received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to build the $30 million Willcox Lateral early last year (see NGI, Feb. 14, 2000).

In order to provide additional capacity on the Willcox Lateral and more specifically, the east leg, El Paso said it might consider expansion of the lateral by connecting the Willcox Lateral to the discharge of the Willcox Compressor Station and looping the east leg of the Lateral. The company said an additional meter station for the new capacity may have to be built at the U.S./Mexico border.

Maintaining it has not made a decision on the expansion as of yet, El Paso said it will have to post an open season to determine the full interest in such a project. It will have to review various options to determine what type of expansion will be required, depending on the firm transportation commitments received. Once it has received firm commitments for the capacity, El Paso said the necessary regulatory filings will be made.

Stating that the project could take up to two years to complete, the company said its timing will depend on when El Paso receives firm commitments, files the necessary regulatory filings, and gets the required approvals for the project.

El Paso added that shippers on the Willcox Lateral will have to secure transportation service from the supply basins to the connection between the Lateral and El Paso's Southern System. For more information, contact Jerry W. Strange, director for transportation marketing, at (719) 520-4687.

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