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Construction of Front Range Pipeline Underway

Construction of Front Range Pipeline Underway

The Public Service Co. of Colorado announced last week it already has begun work on its 53-mile Front Range pipeline which, when completed, will serve the Denver, CO, natural gas market. The construction comes less than one month after the Colorado Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead for the $25 million pipeline project.

"This project represents the largest single expansion of our gas delivery system ever," said Wayne Brunetti, president and COO of New Century Energies, parent company of Public Service. "The capacity of this 24-inch pipeline will provide 269,000 dekatherms - enough natural gas to serve about 150,000 customers."

Although there are competing plans on the table for another pipeline in the same part of the state - namely KN Interstate Gas Transmission's Front Runner pipeline - "we are pleased to be the one moving ahead now," he noted. The Front Range pipeline will run from the Chalk Bluffs Hub near the Colorado-Wyoming border to a point near the Fort St. Vrain generating station, and is expected to be completed by November.

The Front Range pipeline will be funded through WYCO Development LLC, an alliance between Public Service and Colorado Interstate Gas (CIG) that was formed recently to increase access to supplies of natural gas.

On a related front, CIG President Jon R. Whitney in a letter to FERC Chairman James Hoecker expressed concern over the Commission's recent decision to strike from consideration at its last meeting a joint CIG-Wyoming Interstate Gas Co. (WIC) expansion project [CP98-128]. The proposed compression expansion would increase deliveries of Wyoming gas supplies into the Front Range pipeline and Trailblazer Pipeline.

The Commission's decision "imperils the in-service date and will add unnecessary costs to the project unless the Commission votes notationally to issue the certification" prior to its next meeting on July 15th, he said in the June 24th missive. As of last Thursday, FERC had not responded notationally. The proposed in-service date for the CIG-WIC project is Nov. 1, 1998.

Producers from the Powder River Basin region "stand to lose substantial revenues if this project is delayed because they cannot compete in the marketplace," Whitney said. "Thus, it is extremely important to avoid or minimize any further delay in certificating this project."

Susan Parker

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