El Paso Natural Gas, a Kinder Morgan pipeline, has asked FERC for authorization to place the remaining portions of the expansion of its Willcox Lateral into service. The pipeline will make more natural gas available for delivery to power plants in northern Mexico.

El Paso is proposing to place into service compressor units at the modified Willcox Compressor Station in southern Arizona on a staggered schedule to match the contractual start dates for the project shippers: Mexicana de Cobre S.A. de C.V. and MGI Supply Ltd. El Paso’s existing Willcox Compressor Station does not provide any compression for the Willcox Lateral.

The pipeline has reconfigured existing compressors and facilities on the 61-mile Willcox Lateral upstream of El Paso’s border-crossing facilities to accommodate two gas-fired power plants that are being developed in northern Sonora (CP12-6). The first facility, the Agua Prieta II Power Plant, is being developed by the Comision Federal de Electricidad. Natural gas volumes to Agua Prieta will be provided by MGI Supply. Mexicana de Cobre is planning to build a 500 MW combined-cycle generating facility in two stages at its mining facilities in La Caridad, Sonora.

MGI has executed a transportation agreement to transport 95,000 Dth/d of gas through El Paso’s Willcox Lateral for delivery to the modified El Fresnal Meter Station. Mexicana de Cobre executed an agreement to transport 90,000 Dth/d on the Willcox Lateral to serve its new power plant at the Douglas Meter Station, according to El Paso.

When the new incremental volumes are combined with the existing firm contracts on the Willcox Lateral, the total firm contract capacity on the lateral will be 291,286 Dth/d (106,286 Dth/d of existing capacity and 185,000 Dth/d of expansion capacity).

El Paso called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to act on its request by March 29 so it can place the first Willcox Compressor Station unit into service on April 1 and the second unit into service on April 6.

In December, El Paso got the go-ahead to increase export capacity at its Douglas Meter Station (also a component of the lateral expansion) to 117,000 Mcf/d from 78,000 Mcf/d; increase export capacity at the El Fresnal Meter Station to 199,000 Mcf/d from 50,000 Mcf/d; and raise the export capacity at the Willmex Meter Station to 130,000 Mcf/d from 80,000 Mcf/d (CP12-7).

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