The Jicarilla Apache Nation and an affiliate of Enterprise Products Partners LP have signed a 20-year right-of-way agreement allowing the partnership to continue its natural gas gathering operations on reservation lands in northwest New Mexico.
Under the terms of the agreement, Enterprise will continue to own and operate existing infrastructure and related assets located on tribal land, including 545 miles of gathering lines connected to the partnership's San Juan Gathering system, which has current throughput of more than 30 MMcf/d. Comprised of more than 6,000 miles of gas pipelines in New Mexico and Colorado, the total San Juan system gathers more than 1 Bcf/d.
Included in the long-term contract are incentives that may allow future expansion of the gathering system on Jicarilla land, Enterprise said. In addition to a fixed-price component, the right-of-way agreement also provides Jicarilla Apache with opportunities to benefit from changing market conditions for energy commodities.
"The Nation's agreement with Enterprise will stimulate our oil and gas economy while protecting our lands," said Jicarilla Apache President Levi Pesata.
Enterprise CEO Michael A. Creel said the agreement "addresses the needs of both sides and provides producers in the region with the assurance and stability of knowing that the midstream services they have come to expect from Enterprise will be available for decades to come."
To protect sensitive religious, cultural and pristine sites, a small portion of the one million acres that comprise the Jicarilla reservation will be off-limits to oil and gas activity. Also, over the 20-year period of the right-of-way agreement, Enterprise will award 25 college scholarships to tribal members for training and employment opportunities. Additionally, the partnership will join a committee made up of producers and tribal representatives to maintain a system of access roads serving oil and gas facilities that comply with specific Bureau of Land Management guidelines. The U.S. Department of the Interior has authority for granting final approval of the right-of-way agreement.
The Jicarilla Apache Nation, with more than 4,000 enrolled tribal members, is one of the largest natural gas producing Indian nations in the United States.
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