FERC last Thursday approved Rockies Express Pipeline’s (REX) proposal to expand capacity between Meeker Hub and Cheyenne Hub in Colorado on the REX/Entrega leg of the 1,679-mile west-to-east system.

The proposed Meeker-to-Cheyenne expansion would accommodate EnCana Marketing USA Inc.’s contractual ramp-up in rights to increase its capacity on only the 327-mile REX/Entrega portion of the pipeline, which provides takeaway capacity out of supply basins in Colorado and Wyoming to the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO. EnCana Marketing’s contractual ramp-up rights do not apply to pipeline facilities already built for the REX-West leg or the under-construction REX-East segment.

The project, which has an estimated cost of $78.2 million, would increase the capacity from Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO, to Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County, WY, by 200,000 MMcf/d to 1.3 Bcf/d, and the capacity from Wamsutter to Cheyenne Hub would ramp up, upon completion of the REX-East project later this year, to 2 Bcf/d from 1.8 Bcf/d, according to REX (see NGI, Feb. 23).

The expansion would permit REX to transport on a firm basis an additional 200,000 Dth/d from Meeker Hub northward to Wamsutter Hub on behalf of Wyoming Interstate Co. and 200,000 Dth/d from Wamsutter eastward to Cheyenne Hub on behalf of EnCana Marketing [CP09-58].

The expansion calls for the construction of a 20,500 hp gas-powered compressor unit at the pipeline’s Big Hole Compressor Station, and a 17,500 hp electric-powered compressor unit and associated facilities at its Arlington Compressor Station in Carbon County, WY.

REX called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the Meeker-to-Cheyenne expansion by mid-July so the facilities could be placed in service by April 1, 2010.

The REX pipeline consists of three sections: REX/Entrega, REX-West and REX-East. The REX/Entrega leg and REX-West, a 713-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline that extends from Cheyenne Hub to Audrain County, MO, are already in operation. Still under construction is the REX-East leg, a 639-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline that will extend from an interconnection with the eastern terminus of REX-West in Audrain County through Illinois and Indiana, terminating at an interconnection with three pipelines at Clarington Hub in Monroe County, OH.

The portion of REX-East pipeline from Audrain County to the Lebanon Hub in Warren County in western Ohio began service on June 29 (see NGI, July 6). The remainder of the REX-East leg eastward to Clarington, OH, is expected to be in service by Nov. 1. with capacity of up to 1.6 Bcf/d.

REX is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Sempra Pipelines and Storage and ConocoPhillips.

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