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Equitrans Gets OK to Begin Building Big Sandy Pipe

FERC gave Equitrans LP the go-ahead Wednesday to begin building its Big Sandy Pipeline to ease the capacity constraint that has plagued producers in the eastern part of Kentucky over the past two years. The authorization came less than two weeks after FERC approved the pipeline project (see Daily GPI, Nov. 16).

The Big Sandy Pipeline will be a 68-mile, 20-inch diameter line that would extend from Equitable Resources' Kentucky Hydrocarbon plant in Langley in eastern Kentucky to Tennessee Gas Pipeline's Broad Run Lateral in Carter County [CP06-275]. It would provide 130 MDth/d of takeaway capacity for Kentucky producers to transport Appalachian gas to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The anticipated in-service date for the project is July 1, 2007.

The Big Sandy Pipeline is the second pipe project that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved for eastern Kentucky in recent months. The Commission in early October cleared the way for Atmos Energy's Straight Creek Gathering LP to build a 60-mile pipeline that would serve as the backbone of a new gathering system in eastern Kentucky (see Daily GPI, Oct. 4). The project also is designed to help ease the transportation constraint that has placed a significant amount of gas production off-line in the region.

In a related development, NiSource's Columbia Gas Transmission said Thursday it will continue to receive open-season requests through Dec. 15 for capacity on a proposed expansion of its Appalachian pipeline system in West Virginia and Kentucky. The project, which would include additional compression and pipe looping, will provide up to 65,000 Dth/d of newly created transportation service.

Columbia said the expanded capacity is expected to be available during the fourth quarter of 2008. Receipts for the expanded capacity will originate in the Appalachian production basin. The delivery point for the proposed expansion will be a new interconnection located in Floyd County, KY, between Columbia and Equitrans' Big Sandy Pipeline near the Maytown, KY, straddle plant.

Columbia held a couple open seasons and reverse open seasons earlier this year to solicit interest in the Appalachian expansion project.

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