Rockies Express Pipeline LLC filed an application at FERC Monday to build the third and final leg of its proposed $4.4 billion, 1,678-mile pipeline that would transport Rocky Mountain natural gas to Midwest and eastern markets. The proposal comes less than two weeks after FERC approved the western phase of the line that includes three separate projects.

The last leg, known as the REX-East segment, would extend 638 miles from Audrain County, MO, to Clarington, OH. Assuming it receives approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies, the final segment of the Rockies Express Pipeline is expected to begin interim service as early as Dec. 30, 2008, and to be fully operational by June 2009, said Rockies Express.

In mid-April, Rockies Express won FERC approval to build the western phase, which includes separate projects proposed by Rockies Express, TransColorado Gas Transmission and Questar Overthrust Pipeline (see Daily GPI, April 20). The three projects combined call for the construction of approximately 795.6 miles of pipeline and a total of 237,320 horsepower of new compression. When completed, the western phase of the Rockies Express Pipeline would transport up to 1.5 Bcf/d.

As the main part of the western project, Rockies Express plans to construct about 712.7 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline in various counties in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri; about 5.3 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline lateral in Sweetwater and Carbon counties, WY; and install new compressor stations in several states. This portion of the project is known as REX-West.

The REX-West leg would transport gas from the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO, to its terminus at the Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line interconnect in Audrain County, MO, where it would ship to various markets in the Midwest, including Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago. The REX-East leg would transport gas to Ohio and other eastern markets.

Construction on the REX-West line is expected to begin in May with an in-service target date of Jan. 1, 2008. Last month, Bentek Energy said that when REX-West goes into service in early 2008, it could put pipelines transporting natural gas from the Anadarko and Permian basins at a distinct disadvantage (see Daily GPI, April 12).

The first 328-mile segment of the Rockies Express project, which runs from the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO, to the Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County, WY, and then to the Cheyenne Hub, is in service and has a current capacity of 500,000 Dth/d.

The Rockies Express Pipeline is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Sempra Pipelines and Storage and ConocoPhillips, and is one of the largest natural gas pipelines to be constructed in North America, according to Kinder Morgan. When completed, the long-line pipeline will have a capacity of approximately 1.8 Bcf/d.

Binding firm commitments from creditworthy shippers have been secured for virtually all of the capacity on the pipeline, Kinder Morgan said. The company will oversee construction of the project and will operate the pipeline.

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