Williams' Northwest Pipeline has filed an application at FERC for an expansion and replacement project that would provide additional capacity to deliver natural gas from the Piceance Basin in western Colorado to the Opal Hub area in Wyoming.

The Sundance Trail Expansion Project would provide an incremental 150,000 Dth/d of firm transportation capacity from the Greasewood and Meeker/White River hubs in Rio Blanco County, CO, to the Opal Hub area in Lincoln County, WY. The project would consist of new facilities and available unsubscribed capacity on Northwest's system, the Salt Lake City, UT-based pipeline said.

The expansion calls for the construction of approximately 15.5 miles of 30-inch diameter mainline loop in Lincoln County, and the installation of 3,980 hp of new compression at Vernal Compressor Station in Uintah County, UT. Northwest also seeks to replace two compressor units at Vernal with new compression facilities, as well as make minor modifications.

The pipeline has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a certificate by no later than Jan. 29, 2010 so that the expansion/replacement project can be in service by the start of the winter heating season on Nov. 1, 2010. It also asked FERC to approve a predetermination to roll in the costs of the expansion and replacement project into its next Section 4 rate proceeding.

Northwest reported that it has additional unsubscribed capacity on its Piceance Lateral and its Colorado Hub Connection (CHC) project. "The project that Northwest is proposing in this application will provide 150,000 Dth/d of additional mainline capacity that will utilize capacity on both the CHC facilities and the Piceance Lateral to provide transportation from the Piceance Basin to the Opal Hub area," it told FERC.

Northwest has entered into a precedent agreement with Williams Gas Marketing Inc. for the full 150,000 Dth/d of expansion capacity. Williams elected 22,000 Dth/d of firm transportation capacity on the Piceance Lateral and 128,000 Dth/d of capacity on the CHC facilities to be transported to the Kern River Gas Transmission-Muddy Creek interconnect, near the Opal Hub area, for a term of 12 years.

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