FERC Friday gave initial environmental nods to two key interstate pipeline projects that would provide greater access to natural gas markets in the Southeast and Southwest.

In separate draft environmental impact statements (DEIS), agency staff concluded that the Southeast Supply Header Project and Transwestern Pipeline Co.'s Phoenix expansion would have "limited adverse environmental impacts" or would be an "environmentally acceptable action" if appropriate mitigation measures are followed [CP07-44 and CP07-45, CP06-459].

The proposed 270-mile Southeast Supply Header (SESH) pipeline would bring supplies from the Perryville Hub in northern Louisiana to interconnecting pipelines serving the eastern U.S. and terminate at the Gulfstream Natural Gas System near southern Mobile County, AL. The pipeline is targeted for in-service in summer 2008.

Specifically, the project calls for the construction of 104 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline extending southeasterly from Richland, Parish, LA, to Lawrence County, MS; approximately 165 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline extending southeasterly from Lawrence County to Mobile County, MS; 1.7 miles of various diameter laterals in several counties in Mississippi and Alabama; and three new gas mainline compressor stations and two gas booster compressor stations in Mississippi.

The proposed SESH system is designed to bring new supplies, including those from the Barnett Shale and Bossier Sands, as well as regasified liquefied natural gas, to the Southeast market. The project is a joint venture between subsidiaries of CenterPoint Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Gas Transmission. Southern Natural Gas (SNG), an affiliate of El Paso Corp., has inked an agreement with SESH that calls for it to jointly own a portion of the pipeline that will comprise the first 115 miles of the system (see Daily GPI, Dec. 11, 2006).

Under the agreement, SNG would acquire an undivided interest in the portion of the line that would run from Perryville to an interconnection with SNG in Mississippi. The pipe diameter for the jointly owned section would be 42 inches, increasing the initial planned 1 Bcf/d capacity of the SESH system by 140 MMcf/d.

Florida Power and Light has signed an agreement for about half of the capacity on the header system; Progress Energy has agreed to take 200 MMcf/d; and Southern Co., Tampa Electric and EOG Resources have committed to a total of 245 MMcf/d.

The Transwestern Pipeline project is aimed at meeting the growing demand for gas in the Phoenix, AZ, area. The expansion calls for the construction of 285 miles of new looping and lateral pipeline in New Mexico and Arizona. The project, which is targeted for in-service in 2008, would provide 500 MMcf/d of natural gas supply access from the Rocky Mountain and San Juan producing basins to serve Southwest markets.

Specifically, Transwestern proposes to construct 24.6 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline loop along the existing San Juan Lateral in San Juan and McKinley counties, NM; 259.3 miles of 42- and 36-inch lateral pipeline (the Phoenix Lateral) in Coconino, Yavapai, Maricopa and Pinal counties, AZ; 1.4 miles of lateral pipeline connecting the Phoenix Lateral to meter stations; and associated facilities.

In addition, Transwestern would acquire an undivided interest in an existing 36.7-mile, 24-inch diameter East Valley Lateral, which extends between Pinal and Maricopa counties; and would upgrade existing compressor stations in San Juan County and Mohave County, AZ.

A number of agencies assisted FERC staff in the preparation of the DEIS for the Transwestern expansion, including the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, the Agriculture Department's Forest Service, the Transportation Department's Office of Pipeline Safety, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Navajo Nation.

The cooperating agencies on the DEIS for the proposed SESH system were the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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