FERC last Monday gave the environmental go-ahead for Copiah Storage LLC’s amended proposal to significantly expand the capacity of its proposed storage facility in southwestern Mississippi.

“We have determined that if Copiah constructs and operates the facilities in accordance with its application, supplement and staff’s mitigation measures…, approval of this project would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” FERC staff said in its environmental assessment of the expanded project [CP02-25].

Copiah Storage is currently certificated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a 4.3 Bcf single-cavern facility. The new application, which was filed in March, would increase the total capacity of the proposed salt cavern storage facility in Copiah County, MS, to 21 Bcf, enhancing energy reliability and security throughout the eastern United States, said Houston-based Spectra Energy, which owns Copiah Storage. The company expects the Copiah facility’s full capacity to be available by 2012.

The original project, which FERC approved in 2002, called for the construction of one cavern, a new 13,350 hp compressor station and a 1.55-mile pipeline that would interconnect with Texas Eastern Transmission. The project was to have 3.3 Bcf of working gas capacity, and peak withdrawal capability of 300 MMcf/d and injection capacity of 150 MMcf/d.

After receiving a certificate from FERC, Copiah Storage said it realized that a number of factors called for a much larger project, including the expanding liquefied natural gas market along the Gulf Coast, the development of the Southeast Supply Header and Southern Natural Gas Pipeline project and the growing gas demand for electric generation in the Southeast.

The amended application seeks to build two caverns, an additional 32,720 hp compressor station and 14.98 miles of pipeline that would interconnect with Texas Eastern and the Southeast Supply Header and Southern Natural Gas systems. The expanded project would have 15.5 Bcf of working gas capacity, and 1,300 MMcf/d of peak withdrawal capability and 650 MMcf/d of injection capacity.

The storage facility would be located within a 665-acre parcel of land wholly owned by Copiah Storage. It is situated between the emerging Perryville Hub and Gulf Coast supplies and growing markets in the Southeast and Northeast.

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