El Paso Corp.'s Colorado Interstate Gas (CIG) pipeline has filed an application at FERC to build a 164-mile, large-diameter pipeline to serve the growing natural gas demand along the Colorado Front Range, particularly in the Denver metropolitan area.

"Colorado's Front Range...is experiencing a significant growth in the heating and electrical generation needs of a growing population. The continued growth has resulted in demand for additional firm natural gas transportation service to the Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo), the largest natural gas and electricity distribution utility in Colorado," the pipeline told FERC [CP07-207].

The proposed "High Plains Expansion Project," which calls for the construction of new pipeline facilities in Adams, Morgan and Weld counties, CO, would have the capacity to deliver up to 899,000 Dth/d of natural gas. CIG has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a certificate by Dec. 15 so that the facilities can be placed into service by August 2008.

The $196 million project consists of four related pipe segments. As a result, CIG urged FERC, in its certificate order, to "provide for progressive commissioning of individual pipeline segments since certain facilities may serve to provide an additional amount of capacity that can be made available as soon as it has been tested and approved for service." This would allow CIG to "deliver the additional gas supplies required to meet increased customer demands as early as possible for the 2008-2009 heating season."

The four segments of the proposed High Plains expansion are:

The High Plains expansion would interconnect with affiliate Wyoming Interstate Co. Ltd., Rockies Express Pipeline, Young Gas Storage and PSCo's pipeline system, according to CIG. To avoid unnecessary costs and environmental/landowner impacts, CIG proposes to refunctionalize a portion of its Crazy Horse Lateral, which is located near the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County. This would allow the High Plains pipe facilities to directly connect with the Rockies Express Pipeline without having to construct much more extensive interconnecting facilities, CIG said.

In addition, CIG noted that it plans to refunctionalize its small Blue Spruce Lateral near Watkins Compressor Station in Adams County to achieve the same result.

CIG has entered into a precedent agreement with PSCo to provide a maximum daily quantity (MDQ) of 874,000 Dth/d of capacity on the expansion facilities for an initial contract term of approximately 21.5 years. It also has executed a precedent agreement with Coral Energy for an MDQ of 25,000 Dth/d of firm transportation service.

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