El Paso Natural Gas last week filed an application to expand its system by 502 MMcf/d through an integrated project that would involve the use of existing pipeline facilities, the acquisition of transportation capacity on other pipelines, the construction of a new interconnect and the conversion to natural gas service of a crude oil pipeline.

The so-called Line No. 1903 project “would essentially provide a needed crossover between El Paso’s North System and South System mainlines, similar to the already existing Havasu Crossover,” the pipeline told FERC [CP05-2].

The centerpiece of the project is the conversion of an 88-mile segment of a former crude oil pipeline to natural gas transportation. In early 2000, El Paso Corp. purchased from Plains All American Pipeline LP a 1,088-mile crude oil transmission line that extends from Bakersfield, CA, to McCamey, TX. El Paso placed the portion of the crude oil line extending from McCamey to the Arizona/California border into gas service in late 2002. The latest project would involve a segment of the line that is primarily located within the state of California.

The Line No. 1903 project would combine existing facilities owned and operated by El Paso, Mojave Pipeline and Kern River Gas Transmission; the acquisition by El Paso of firm capacity on Mojave; the construction of a new interconnect at a point between Mojave and Line No. 1903 (the Cadiz Crossover); the modification of facilities at Kern River’s existing compressor station at Daggett, CA, to permit gas to flow east from Daggett to Mojave; and the conversion to gas service of Line No. 1903.

The cost of converting 88 miles of the crude line and construction of 6.4 miles of interconnecting pipelines will be $73.4 million, according to El Paso. It estimated that the annual cost of capacity on the Mojave and Kern River systems will be about $17.9 million. El Paso proposes to roll in the costs of the Line No. 1903 project in a future rate proceeding.

The interstate pipeline asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a certificate for the project by July 31, 2005, so that the expansion could go into service by no later than Dec. 31, 2005.

El Paso said it has acquired rights to, or will have acquired rights to, up to 312.4 MMcf/d of transportation capacity on Mojave’s system. This capacity will permit it to deliver gas to Mojave at the existing Topock point, transport on the Mojave system, and then deliver to Line No. 1903 at a proposed point of interconnection between Mojave and El Paso’s Line No. 1903 in San Bernardino County, CA, the pipeline noted.

In Bernardino County, El Paso proposes to build a 6.4-mile, 30-inch diameter crossover connecting the Mojave system to Line No. 1903. “When combined with the El Paso receipts…from the Mojave system at the Daggett point, made possible by the utilization of Kern River’s existing compression at the Daggett point, El Paso will be able to transport up to 502 MMcf/d through Line No. 1903 for deliveries to Ehrenberg, North Baja and east to Phoenix markets. Additionally, the Line No. 1903 project will allow El Paso to reduce [its] current reliance on displacement to provide firm transportation service for the North-to-South capacity prompted by El Paso’s allocation of firm rights at receipt points to its shippers.”

The project will clear the way for deliveries of up to 189,438 Mcf/d of Rocky Mountain supplies received from Kern River at Daggett via the Mojave system to Line No. 1903; the receipt of up to 182,106 Mcf/d of San Juan Basin supplies via the North System through acquired capacity on Mojave; and 130,456 Mcf/d of average annual capacity available to mitigate North-to-South displacement concerns, El Paso said.

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