The developer of the Bobcat Gas Storage facility in St. Landry Parish, LA, Port Barre Investments LLC, asked FERC for permission to leach three new salt dome caverns to hold an additional 24 Bcf of working gas, expand the Bobcat Compressor Station, add four meter stations and loop the North and West Pipeline Corridors. The storage facility currently is certificated for two caverns totaling 15.6 Bcf of working capacity. The expansion would raise the facility’s working capacity to 39.6 Bcf and increase the maximum deliverability to 3 Bcf/d from 1.2 Bcf/d and maximum receipt capacity to 1.6 Bcf/d from 900 MMcf/d. FERC earlier gave Bobcat Gas Storage the green light to place one of the previously certificated caverns in service (see NGI, Nov. 10). The cavern was expected to have 6 Bcf of total storage capacity at start-up, and is expandable to 7.8 Bcf. Helping to develop the facility is Haddington Energy Partners III LLC, a private equity fund. The Bobcat facility is 45 miles from Henry Hub and provides access to gas from offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in Texas and Louisiana.

Texas Eastern Transmission LP (Tetco) has placed into service the remaining facilities of its TIME II pipeline and compression expansion project, providing up to 150,000 Dth/d of new transportation service to the New Jersey market area to alleviate market constraints due to increasing market demand. The remaining facilities of the Texas Eastern Incremental Market Expansion II project (TIME II) included 6.25 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline replacement in Pickaway County, OH; 4.02 miles of 36-inch diameter looping pipeline in Monroe County, OH; and a new 16,000 hp electric compression unit at the existing compressor station in Uniontown, PA. As part of the TIME II project, Tetco in 2007 constructed 6.36 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline in Somerset and Bedford counties, PA; 4.85 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline in Franklin County, PA; 10.36 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline in Bucks County, PA; and a new 16,000 hp electric compression unit and compressor station in Heidlersburg, PA. The project provides natural gas supplies to the New Jersey area, including PSEG Power LLC and New Jersey Natural Gas, Tetco said.

Two environmental groups attempting to prevent some oil and natural gas lease sales in New Mexico from being implemented have sued the Bureau of Land Management, alleging that the federal agency has failed to curb ozone levels and safeguard air quality in the northwestern part of the state. WildEarth Guardians and Dine Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment (CARE) filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico (Case No. 6:08-cv-01057-LFG-DJS). The 16-page complaint challenges the decision by BLM’s Farmington, NM, field office to authorize two quarterly lease sales in April and July. The plaintiffs contend that BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act by conducting the lease sales without completing adequate environmental assessments (EA), by failing to provide a “timely” opportunity for public comment, and by failing to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS). BLM used the 2003 Farmington Resource Management Plan to conduct the sales; it provides for development of nearly 10,000 new oil and gas wells over a 20-year period. However, the lawsuit contended that BLM leased more than 22,000 acres in April and July without adequately addressing ozone pollution or possible pollution controls. According to WildEarth, air quality monitors this year have reported ozone levels in the region averaged 77 parts per billion (p/b), which exceeds the federal limit of 75 p/b.

Due to scheduled maintenance and work associated with the Elba III Expansion project, Southern LNG said its Elba Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal will be unable to accept ship cargoes for unloading through Nov. 23. Additionally, there will be no natural gas send-out through Monday (Nov. 17). From Tuesday (Nov. 18) through Sunday (Nov. 23) send-out will be limited to 675 MMcf/d due to project tie-ins for the Elba III Expansion. Following completion of the work, the North Dock will remain out of service until February.

Atmos Pipeline and Storage LLC, an affiliate of of natural gas distribution provider Atmos Energy Corp., last week filed an application at FERC seeking authorization to build a 25 Bcf high-deliverability storage facility in Fort Necessity in northeastern Louisiana. The company proposes to construct three 8.25 Bcf storage caverns in the Fort Necessity salt dome formation in Franklin Parish, with each having a working capacity of 5 Bcf. The project also would involve the construction of about 7.4 miles of pipeline that would interconnect with Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Columbia Gulf Transmission, ANR Pipeline and Regency Energy Partners LP, an intrastate line. Atmos Pipeline has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the storage project on an expedited basis by April 30, 2009. It also requested that FERC authorize construction over a five-year period to accommodate the time needed for construction through solution mining of the three caverns. The project would have an average daily injection capacity of approximately 375 MMcf/d and a maximum daily injection capacity of about 500 MMcf/d, while average daily withdrawal capacity would be 750 MMcf/d and maximum daily withdrawal capacity would be approximately 1,500 MMcf/d, according to the company. “The project is needed to provide new natural gas storage capacity in the Gulf Coast production area. Fort Necessity is particularly well suited for such capacity given its location downstream of historical interstate pipeline bottlenecks. In addition, the Fort Necessity storage location will provide access to markets in the Gulf Coast, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast regions as well as access to competitive natural gas supply from the Barnett Shale, Haynesville Shale and Gulf Coast onshore and offshore production areas,” Atmos Pipeline told FERC. The project “will be highly flexible because of its ability to cycle up to six times per year. Furthermore, the project will provide high deliverability rates and injection capabilities…The project also has the ability to act as a ‘shock absorber’ for subscribing customers because it provides both operational and marketing opportunities that are not available in traditional reservoir storage fields.” Atmos Pipeline requested that FERC grant it market-based rate authority to provide firm and interruptible storage and hub services. “Atmos will not be able to exercise market power as a result of the project. To the contrary, the project will aid competition in the Gulf Coast region,” it said.

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