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KN Delays Front Runner Until '99

KN Delays Front Runner Until '99

KN Energy will not be building its Front Runner Pipeline project this year as originally planned but may begin construction by next summer in time for service in November 1999, a company spokesman said last week. KN originally intended to have the project in service for the upcoming heating season. Despite receiving an optional certificate on the project from FERC in July, the company still has not lined up the required customer commitments to move forward.

"We have a year to build under the FERC certificate. Right now it makes more sense to wait until next year. If this situation does not change, we will move forward on it, but there are potential things that could happen to [change our plans], particularly in our discussions with [Public Service Co. of Colorado]," said KN spokesman Mark Stutz.

PSCo and Colorado Interstate Gas, which started construction July 1 on a competing project called the Front Range pipeline, plan to have their expansion in service by November. Both projects are designed to serve similar markets in the Front Range area of Colorado, which parallels the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains and includes Denver. The two companies have been discussing possibly combining the projects into a single system but have not reached agreement. "I wouldn't say [the plans to combine the two projects] are blown," said KN's Buddy Farah. "I've seen too many things I thought would never happen happen. We're still in discussions with PSCo."

Whether there is enough market growth along the Front Range to support two projects is "the $64,000 question," Farah noted. "I think ultimately there will be. It's just a matter of how fast you think it would occur. We see the power generation being one of the fastest growing sectors." But there's also 2-3% per year of general population, industrial and commercial growth, KN's Mark Stutz said.

The 53-mile Front Range Pipeline would have a capacity to transport 269,000 Dth/d from the Rockport Hub in northern Colorado to Denver. A related Wyoming Interstate Gas project would provide the necessary upstream capacity for Front Range, through the addition of new compression at a connection between CIG's Powder River Basin lateral and WIC's mainline and at WIC's Cheyenne compressor station near Rockport. The 109-mile Front Runner Pipeline would extend from Rockport south to Greeley, CO, where it branch off into several smaller laterals, and then to the Denver metropolitan area. The pipeline would have a design capacity of 254 MMcf/d.

Rocco Canonica

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