Three Gulf of Mexico gas producers have called on FERC to approve “as soon as possible” a pipeline expansion proposed by Discovery Gas Transmission LLC and affiliate Discovery Producer Services LLC, which they say will offer greater market access for their supplies.

A certificate must be issued by “no later than May 1” of this year “so that the market expansion facilities can be operational in time to deliver…production” from the Front Runner project, which the producers are developing in the Green Canyon area of the Gulf [CP03-343]. The producers are Murphy Exploration & Production Co. USA, Spinnaker Exploration Co. Inc., and Dominion Exploration & Production Exploration Inc.

The so-called Front Runner shippers reported they currently are finalizing precedent agreements for 109,931 MMBtu/d of firm transportation capacity on Discovery’s Market Expansion project.

“A critical element of the decision by the Front Runner shippers to have their incremental production delivered by Discovery, in lieu of another pipeline, was the commitment by Discovery to…provide the Front Runner shippers (and other shippers of Discovery) four additional market outlets for their natural gas production,” the gas producers said. Discovery’s 150-mile pipeline system located onshore and offshore Louisiana currently offers producers only two market outlets for their gas when it reaches onshore Louisiana.

The expansion will heighten shipper ability to “access more markets in the southern Louisiana area and will increase the competition among gas suppliers and purchasers in these markets,” they noted. In addition, it “will also increase the integration of the natural gas pipeline network in the Gulf Coast region.”

The Discovery project calls for the addition of interconnections with Columbia Gulf Transmission Co., Gulf South Pipeline Co. LP, Tennessee Gas Pipeline and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp.

Columbia Gulf has objected to the proposed interconnection with Discovery, citing operational concerns. Discovery last week urged the Commission to approve its Market Expansion project “as soon as possible” as well, including the Columbia Gulf interconnect.

As part of the project, Discovery proposes to acquire from DPH Inc. 31 miles of existing, unused 20-inch diameter pipeline in LaFourche and Terrebone Parishes, a portion of a 16-inch diameter pipeline in LaFourche Parish, and build minor pipe facilities and add metering/pressure relating facilities to complete the interconnections. In addition, it seeks to lease 100,000 Dth/d of capacity on approximately 35 miles of Texas Eastern Transmission’s system from Discovery’s existing interconnect to the proposed interconnect with Transco.

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