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Questar Gets PD on Utah Pipe Expansion

Questar Gets PD on Utah Pipe Expansion

FERC last week gave a preliminary nod to Questar Pipeline's application to build a 75.6-mile, 272,000 Dth/d pipeline loop running from northeastern Utah to the north central part of the state. The proposed facilities would transport to western markets the growing coal-seam natural gas production near Price, UT, and the volumes delivered to Questar from Colorado Interstate Gas's Uinta Basin Lateral at Natural Buttes.

In a preliminary determination on non-environmental issues, the Commission found Questar's project to be in the "public convenience and necessity." Absent "pre-approval for rolled-in rate treatment," which Questar had sought, the so-called M.L. (Main Line) No. 104 project "can proceed without subsidies from, or degradation in service to, its existing shippers and will provide benefits that outweigh any adverse impacts," the order said [CP00-68].

Specifically, "we find that the proposed expansion will provide direct pipeline access to new natural gas supplies, will satisfy the growing demand of end-use customers along the Wasatch Front [in north-central Utah], and will bring additional gas supplies to downstream western markets served by Kern River [Gas Transmission]," it noted.

In its application filed last January, Questar noted that its existing M.L. Nos. 40 and 41 transportation systems were being overtaxed due to the growth in the development of coal-seam gas reserves in Price and the rising peak-day requirements of gas customers along the Wasatch Front. The proposed 24-inch M.L. No. 104 expansion seeks to solve that problem, looping the westernmost segment of Questar's M.L. No. 40 line and all of the M.L. No. 41 line. It would extend from Price, UT, to an interconnection with Kern River near Elberta, UT.

Questar said it plans to sell 50% of its ownership interest in the proposed new facilities to CIG Gas Supply Co. when the line is placed into service. CIG Supply, in turn, would lease its 50% undivided interest in M.L. No. 104 back to Questar under a 33 1/3-year agreement, giving Questar full custodial and operational rights.

The Commission noted Questar has executed four firm transportation agreements with three customers for 270,000 Dth/d of the project's capacity. The customers include CIG Resources, Questar Gas and Texaco Natural Gas. The agreement with CIG Resources is not binding.

Susan Parker

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