While the western phase of the Rockies Express Pipeline grabbed most of the attention Thursday, FERC also approved a number of other key pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, as well as two asset purchases.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the green light to three pipeline affiliates -- a small interstate and two intrastates -- to combine their facilities to form one new interstate system to better serve the Missouri and Illinois gas markets. Missouri Interstate Gas LLC (MIG), Missouri Gas Co. LLC (MGC) and Missouri Pipeline Co. LLC (MPC) seek to consolidate their pipes to create a 263-mile, up to 16-inch diameter interstate system delivering 85 MMcf/d of gas to Missouri and Illinois [CP06-407, CP06-408, CP06-409]. The integrated pipeline expects to increase transportation capacity in the future, a spokesman said.

The new pipeline would be owned by MGC. All three pipelines are based in St. Peters, MO, and are wholly owned subsidiaries of United Pipeline Systems LLC. MIG owns a 6.6-mile interstate line extending from an interconnection with CenterPoint Energy -- Mississippi River Transmission (MRT) in Illinois to an interconnect with affiliate MPC in the northern suburbs of St. Louis, MO. MPC is a Hinshaw pipeline, exempt from FERC jurisdiction, and MGC is an intrastate.

Separately, FERC approved Questar Pipelines' Southern System Expansion Project II that will provide delivery of an additional 175,000 Dth/d of gas on the pipeline's southern transmission system to an existing interconnect with Kern River Gas Transmission near Goshen, UT. The project calls for the construction of about 59 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline loop and associated facilities in several Utah counties, as well as upgrades to existing compressor units [CP07-25].

The Commission also gave the go-ahead for Trunkline Gas Co. to expand its pipeline system to transport natural gas production in Texas to delivery points in Louisiana.

The Field Zone Expansion Project includes the construction of a 45-mile, 36-inch diameter loop pipeline and associated facilities from Jasper County, TX, to a meter station in Beauregard Parish, LA; replacement of an existing compressor unit with a new 10,350 horsepower (hp) electric motor-driven compressor unit in Hardin County, TX; installation of a 13.5-mile, 36-inch diameter Henry Hub Lateral in Vermilion Parish, LA; and relocation of an existing compressor unit to Louisiana, where it will be uprated to 5,100 hp [CP06-452].

In separate action, the Commission approved UGI LNG Inc.'s proposal to acquire an LNG peak-shaving facility located near the town of Temple in Berks County, PA, as well as pipeline facilities that interconnect with Texas Eastern Transmission [CP06-442, CP06-443].

The Temple peak-shaving facility currently is operated by affiliate UGI Energy Services Inc. and provides full-requirements LNG delivery services to UGI Utilities Inc. The Temple facility includes a 250,000 Mcf storage tank, a vaporization system designed to deliver up to 50,000 Dth/d, a liquefier designed to deliver 4,000 Dth/d and an eight-inch pipeline connecting the facility to Texas Eastern's system.

The facility under UGI LNG's ownership would offer firm and interruptible LNG liquefaction, storage and vaporization services in interstate commerce, the company said.

FERC also approved several changes to Bobcat Gas Storage's certificate to build a high-deliverability storage project in St. Landry Parish, LA. Bobcat Gas, a subsidiary of Haddington Ventures III LLC, sought permission to increase the total capacity of the proposed facility to 20 Bcf from the previously authorized 17.8 Bcf, as well as to decrease the diameter of interconnecting pipelines and add more interconnecting pipelines.

The storage project, which is targeted for in-service next winter, would tie in with pipes to transport Gulf Coast gas supply, including LNG, to markets throughout the U.S. The proposed Bobcat facility is being developed by Port Barre Investments LLC, which is owned by Haddington Ventures.

Lastly, FERC approved Columbia Gas Transmission's proposal to sell natural gas storage and transmission pipeline in Ohio to Cobra Pipeline Co. Ltd. for an estimated $6.5 million.

The facilities include 217 miles of pipelines with an inside diameter ranging between two and 12 inches, three compressor stations with a combined horsepower of 2,650 and associated assets [CP06-435, CP06-438].

Columbia and Cobra Pipelines' affiliate, Orwell-Trumbull Pipeline Co. LLC, entered into a purchase and sale agreement in May 2005, which was amended in August 2005 and May 2006. Cobra is based in Mentor, OH.

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