FERC Thursday approved a request of Midcontinent Express Pipeline LLC (MEP), a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Energy Transfer Partners LP, to begin the pre-filing review under the National Environmental Policy Act for its proposed west-to-east pipeline that will move gas to markets in Florida and the Northeast.

The Midcontinent Express Pipeline project calls for the construction of new facilities and the acquisition through lease of upstream capacity to provide long-haul firm takeaway capacity from natural gas supply areas in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, including the Barnett Shale, Woodford Shale, Fayetteville Shale, Anadarko Basin and Arkoma Basin, as well as the Bossier Sands.

The company proposes to construct approximately 500 miles of pipeline that would originate near Bennington, OK, travel through Perryville, LA, and its growing gas pipeline hub, and terminate at an interconnect with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line in Butler, AL. The $1.25 billion project will have an initial capacity of 1.4 Bcf/d.

“We believe that beginning the Commission’s [pre-filing] review prior to our receipt of your application will greatly improve the chances of identifying specific project issues and addressing them in a timely manner,” FERC’s Office of Energy Projects said in a letter Thursday to MEP. Midcontinent Express indicated that it plans to file its project application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in about six months. Pending necessary regulatory approvals, Midcontinent Express is expected to be in service by no later than Feb. 28, 2009.

As part of the project, MEP has executed a firm capacity lease agreement for up to 500,000 Dth/d with Enogex Inc., an Oklahoma intrastate pipeline subsidiary of OGE Energy, to provide a seamless transportation path from various locations in Oklahoma into and through MEP. The new pipeline also would interconnect with Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Inc., and with the previously announced Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) 36-inch pipeline extending from the Barnett Shale and interconnecting with ETP’s Texoma pipeline near Paris, TX (see Daily GPI, Dec. 7, 2006), as well as Columbia Gulf Transmission’s system near Waverly in Madison Parish, LA.

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