FERC on Friday gave final environmental clearance to CenterPoint Energy Gas Transmission’s (CEGT) proposal to build a 172-mile pipeline from the Carthage Hub in Texas to the Perryville Hub in Louisiana, providing a market outlet for the burgeoning natural gas production in North-Central and East Texas and North Louisiana.

The proposed Carthage-to-Perryville pipeline project would have “limited adverse environment impacts,” staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded in its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the project (CP06-85).

The proposed 42-inch pipeline would deliver up to 1.2 MMDth/d of supply to markets served through various pipelines interconnected with CEGT’s Perryville Hub, including ANR Pipeline, Trunkline Gas, Columbia Gulf Transmission and Texas Gas Transmission, which collectively serve markets in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Tennessee and Indiana.

CEGT, a subsidiary of Houston-based CenterPoint Energy, said the $403 million project, which would also include two new compressor stations with a combined 41,240 horsepower, would respond to the growing gas supplies from the Barnett Shale and Bossier Sand areas that are seeking outlets to markets. The East Texas/North Louisiana production areas to be accessed by the proposed pipeline are among the areas that have exhibited the strongest reserve growth; production in East Texas alone increased to 3.2 Bcf/d in January 2004 from 2.25 Bcf/d in January 2000, it noted.

“The project…will bring additional onshore gas supply to market at a time when there is a critical need following the offshore infrastructure devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita” last summer, the pipeline told FERC in its application, which was filed in March. CEGT asked FERC to approve the proposed line by this month. A final certificate routinely is issued within days or weeks of a company receiving an FEIS.

Assuming FERC gives the go-ahead this month, CEGT said it plans to build the Carthage-to-Perryville Hub pipeline project in two phases. It expects an in-service date of early 2007 for 963,000 Dth/d of capacity in Phase I, with the remaining capacity is slated for service in the summer of 2007. Phase I and II capacity are fully subscribed, according to the CEGT. Due to heightened interest, the pipeline also is eyeing the possibility of a third phase (the addition of compression and pipeline looping) that would go into service in the fall of 2007. The project would operate separately from CEGT’s existing 8,100-mile system that transports about 1 Tcf a year to Midwest markets.

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