FERC has approved a request of El Paso Natural Gas for an early environmental review of its proposed 60-mile lateral that would cross the U.S.-Mexican border to supply more gas to power generation facilities.

The 36-inch diameter lateral would extend from El Paso’s existing South Mainline System near Tucson, AZ, southward to the U.S.-Mexican border near Sasabe, AZ.

“This additional export capacity will be used to transport natural gas to existing power plants [in Mexico] that will be converted from fuel oil to natural gas as well as new natural gas-fueled power plants that may be built in the future,” El Paso, a pipeline subsidiary of El Paso Corp., told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [PF12-11]. The Sasabe Lateral will have an initial capacity of 160-210 MMcf/d, with the flexibility to increase that to 760 MMcf/d through expansions, El Paso said.

El Paso said it is in the process of negotiating transportation agreements with MGI Supply Ltd. for the initial capacity of the proposed lateral. It said it also plans to conduct an open season prior to filing its certificate application in or around January 2013.

The pipeline called on the Commission to approve the lateral project by October 2013 so it can be placed in service by September 2014.

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