Atmos Pipeline and Storage LLC, an affiliate of of natural gas distribution provider Atmos Energy Corp., has filed an application at FERC seeking authorization to build a 25 Bcf high-deliverability storage facility in Fort Necessity in northeastern Louisiana.

The company proposes to construct three 8.25 Bcf storage caverns in the Fort Necessity salt dome formation in Franklin Parish, with each having a working capacity of 5 Bcf. The project also would involve the construction of about 7.4 miles of pipeline that would interconnect with Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Columbia Gulf Transmission, ANR Pipeline and Regency Energy Partners LP, an intrastate line.

Atmos Pipeline has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the storage project on an expedited basis by April 30, 2009. It also requested that FERC authorize construction over a five-year period to accommodate the time needed for construction through solution mining of the three caverns.

The project would have an average daily injection capacity of approximately 375 MMcf/d and a maximum daily injection capacity of about 500 MMcf/d, while average daily withdrawal capacity would be 750 MMcf/d and maximum daily withdrawal capacity would be approximately 1,500 MMcf/d, according to the company.

“The project is needed to provide new natural gas storage capacity in the Gulf Coast production area. Fort Necessity is particularly well suited for such capacity given its location downstream of historical interstate pipeline bottlenecks. In addition, the Fort Necessity storage location will provide access to markets in the Gulf Coast, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast regions as well as access to competitive natural gas supply from the Barnett Shale, Haynesville Shale and Gulf Coast onshore and offshore production areas,” Atmos Pipeline told FERC.

The project “will be highly flexible because of its ability to cycle up to six times per year. Furthermore, the project will provide high deliverability rates and injection capabilities…The project also has the ability to act as a ‘shock absorber’ for subscribing customers because it provides both operational and marketing opportunities that are not available in traditional reservoir storage fields.”

Atmos Pipeline requested that FERC grant it market-based rate authority to provide firm and interruptible storage and hub services. “Atmos will not be able to exercise market power as a result of the project. To the contrary, the project will aid competition in the Gulf Coast region,” it said.

Atmos Pipeline’s parent company, Dallas-based Atmos Energy Corp., is one of the largest local distribution companies in the nation, providing natural gas and transportation service to approximately 3.2 million customers in the Midwest, South, West and Mid-Atlantic areas.

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