FERC Monday gave the environmental go-ahead for Trunkline Gas Co.'s proposed pipeline expansion to increase access to Texas' growing natural gas production, storage fields, pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

"Approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment," FERC staff said of the Trunkline project [CP06-452].

The so-called Field Zone expansion calls for Trunkline, a Panhandle Energy pipeline, to build a 45-mile, 36-inch diameter looping pipeline and associated facilities from Jasper County, TX, to the Longville Meter Station in Beauregard Parish, LA, as well as a 13.5-mile, 36-inch diameter Henry Hub lateral along an existing pipeline right-of-way in Vermilion Parish, LA.

Trunkline also proposes to install a new 10,350 horsepower (hp) electric motor-driven compressor unit at the Kountze Compressor Station in Hardin County, TX; relocate two 3,000 hp compressor units to the Kaplan Compressor Station in Vermilion Parish; install a new 10,350 hp compressor unit at the Longview Compressor Station in Beauregard Parish; uprate an existing compressor unit to 5,100 hp and relocate it to the Kaplan Compressor Station in Louisiana.

Energy Transfer Partners LP has agreed to anchor the project. Trunkline expects to increase capacity along the existing right-of-way from Kountze to Longville by 110 MMcf/d to 510 MMcf/d, with the construction of 45-mile pipe, said Houston-based Southern Union, parent of Panhandle Energy. Trunkline also will create additional capacity to the Henry Hub with the construction of the proposed lateral.

Assuming FERC approves the project, Trunkline said it has targeted the expansion for in-service in November of this year.

Energy Transfer signed a binding precedent agreement with Trunkline to hold a substantial amount of capacity on its pipeline system. The firm transportation agreement, which will originate from a new connection with the recently announced Energy Transfer expansion project near Kountze, will make deliveries to multiple pipelines in Louisiana, primarily near the Henry Hub. Other shippers who have subscribed to capacity on the expansion include ProLiance and Sequent Energy Management, a Panhandle Energy spokesman said.

About 6.6 Bcf/d of LNG import capacity has been approved by FERC for construction in the general area of the proposed pipeline expansion. By expanding the pipeline from Kountze to Longville, Trunkline will be able to receive onshore production originating in the expanding Bossier and Barnett Shale plays and from the proposed LNG terminals planned for the Texas Gulf Coast through existing or proposed intrastate pipeline and storage connections.

Trunkline is a 3,500-mile pipeline with access to Gulf Coast natural gas supply. It has the capability to deliver 1.5 Bcf/d to Midwest and East Coast markets.

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