Bison Pipeline LLC is scheduled to place the bulk of its pipeline project into service by Tuesday (Jan. 4).

“Bison’s targeted in-service date was originally projected to be Nov. 15, 2010; however, Bison now estimates that the project will be placed in service in January 2011. We accept Bison’s revised tariff records to be effective the later of Dec. 29, 2010 or the date Bison’s facilities are placed in service, subject to further conditions,” the Federal energy Regulatory Commission said last week.

Bison plans to place in operation Phase 1 of the project, which includes 302 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline to transport natural gas from the Powder River Basin to Midwest markets, such as Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. The line would run northeastward from the Dead Horse region near Gillette, WY, across the southeastern corner of Montana and into southwestern North Dakota, where it would interconnect with the pipeline system of Northern Border Pipeline Co. near its Compressor Station No. 6 in Morton County, ND.

The project also calls for the installation of one compressor station totaling 4,700 hp near Hettinger County, ND (Phase 2). The cost of the project is estimated at $609.6 million.

Bison Pipeline is a limited liability company, and its sole member is TC Continental Pipeline Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp. TransCanada Northern Border Inc., also a TransCanada subsidiary, would be the operator of Bison.

The proposed 477 MMcf/d Bison pipeline has 10-year capacity commitments with Anadarko Energy Services Co. (250 MMcf/d); Williams Gas Marketing Inc. (100 MMcf/d); Minnesota Energy Resources Corp. (51.706 MMcf/d); and MidAmerican Energy Co. (5 MMcf/d). Anadarko Energy is the project’s foundation shipper (see NGI, April 19, 2010).

Even as producers continue to lay down rigs across the country due to low natural gas prices, Bison maintains that the project is designed to serve expanding production in the Powder River Basin. “Twenty thousand wells have been drilled in this area in the last 10 years, and annual additions are projected to be in the range of 2,000 wells per year,” Bison told FERC in its application.

The project, with its direct connection to Northern Border, would provide a new northbound route out of the entire Rocky Mountain production region to the growing Midwest market, according to Bison.

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