Tres Palacios Gas Storage LLC, a subsidiary of Westport, CT-based NGS Investments LP, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for clearance to place its entire storage header system in Texas in service on Monday (July 20). “Action by that day will give Tres Palacios adequate time to alert its customers to the availability of additional receipt point capabilities for storage injections and will give those customers time to make the necessary upstream transportation and gas supply arrangements,” wrote attorneys for the storage company. Tres Palacios said it was nearing completion of the construction of the segment of the header system located between interconnections with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line and Tennessee Gas Pipeline.The 41.72-mile, looped bidirectional pipeline will be connected to a number of interstate and intrastate pipelines. In late 2008 and early this year Tres Palacios received authorization to place into service storage caverns one and two, as well as its gas handling facility and previously constructed portions of the header pipeline system (see NGI, Oct. 6, 2008). The storage facility, located in Matagorda County, TX, is using existing underground salt caverns on the Markham Dome. A third cavern is targeted for service in 2010, according to Tres Palacios. The three-cavern facility has planned working gas storage capacity of 36.62 Bcf, and will have the ability to receive injections of up to 1 Bcf/d and handle withdrawals of up to 2.5 Bcf/d.

Production from the Thunder Hawk Field in the Gulf of Mexico ramped up in early July, according to operator Murphy Oil Corp. The field is in Mississippi Canyon Block 734, with output processed by a semi-submersible floating production unit built by SBM Offshore. The unit is able to process up to 70 MMcf/d of natural gas and 45,000 b/d of oil. Thunder Hawk is in more than 5,700 feet of water and is about 145 miles southeast of New Orleans. Three subsea wells initially were connected via flow lines to the facility; more are to be added. Murphy holds a 37.5% stake in the project. Partners are Eni and StatoilHydro USA E&P, which each hold a 25% stake, and Marubeni Oil & Gas (USA), which has a 12.5% interest.

Forest Oil Corp.’s second horizontal well in the Haynesville Shale ramped up in early July at an initial production rate of 20.3 MMcfe/d. The Driver 13-1H well in Red River Parish, LA, produced with 6,500 pounds/square inch flowing casing pressure, and was drilled and completed with a horizontal leg of 3,500 feet and a 10-stage hydraulic fracture (frac). The independent, which owns and operates the well, has an estimated 11,050-acre net leasehold in Louisiana, and it has identified 110 additional locations to drill on the acreage. Forest plans to maintain a one-rig drilling program in the parish for the rest of 2009. Another rig is to work both Texas and Louisiana properties in the future.

Western Gas Partners LP, which was formed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to operate and develop midstream assets, plans to pay its founder $107 million to acquire some midstream properties in Anadarko’s prized Greater Natural Buttes Field in the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah. The acquisition includes a 51% stake in Chipeta Processing LLC, which owns the Chipeta natural gas processing complex. The complex includes two recently completed processing trains: a refrigeration unit completed in November 2007 with a design capacity of 240 MMcf/d and a 250 MMcf/d capacity cryogenic unit that was commissioned in April. Chipeta provides processing services to Anadarko and third-party producers in the Greater Natural Buttes Field and has current throughput of 375 MMcf/d. Once the acquisition closes, which is expected in 3Q2009, Anadarko would retain a 24% stake in Chipeta.

Penn Virginia Resource Partners LP (PVR) said it would be able to increase its natural gas processing capabilities in western Oklahoma after acquiring processing and residue pipeline facilities from Atlas Pipeline Partners LP (APL) for $22.6 million in cash. The acquired and expanded processing facilities would increase PVR Midstream’s processing capacity in the Panhandle System to 260 MMcf/d and overall processing capacity to 400 MMcf/d. The acquired assets include a 60 MMcf/d processing plant within APL’s 180 MMcf/d Sweetwater facility in Beckham County, OK. APL would continue to operate the facilities, PVR said. The facility is expected to begin processing PVR’s gas by the end of August after system connections and field compression are installed, which the company estimated would cost an additional $5 million.

WilliamsTranscontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco) is holding a nonbinding open season through Aug. 4 for an expansion to provide up to 150,000 Dth/d of firm service to markets in Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland. Williams said the Mid-Atlantic Connector Expansion project is designed to provide service from an interconnection with East Tennessee Natural Gas in Rockingham County, NC, to delivery points as far north as Transco’s interconnect with Columbia Gas Transmission in Montgomery County, MD. The proposed in-service date for the expansion is Nov. 1, 2012. The level of market interest will determine the cost and pipeline facilities required for the expansion, the company said. The expansion will be subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other agencies. For more information on the Mid-Atlantic Connector Expansion, contact James Corley at (713) 215-4607.

A nonbinding open season is being held through Aug. 19 by Williams’ Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco) for an expansion designed to provide increased capacity to serve markets in the southeastern United States, the pipeline said. The proposed Mid-South expansion project will offer shippers the opportunity to subscribe for incremental year-round firm service on Transco’s mainline from its Station 85 pool in Choctaw County, AL, to delivery points as far north as Transco’s interconnection with Cardinal Pipeline Co. in Rockingham County, NC. The Mid-South expansion is designed to provide up to 230,000 Dth/d of new capacity and is anticipated to be available as early as September 2012, subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval. The level of market interest will determine the cost and pipeline facilities required. For information, contact Toi Anderson at (713) 215-4540.

Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources has awarded a $5 million contract for evaluation of alternatives for a natural gas pipeline to deliver gas from the North Slope to in-state markets to an engineering unit of Michael Baker Corp., the firm said. Parts of Alaska, particularly its Southcentral region, have been starved for gas supplies as production from the Cook Inlet has declined. A number of options have been weighed to tap North Slope gas while the state continues to work on a long-sought interstate pipeline project to the Lower 48 (see NGI, June 15; Feb. 9). Michael Baker Jr. Inc. said it will provide civil, geotechnical, hydraulic, process, pipeline, logistical and route engineering for a gas treatment plant, pipeline, compressor stations, route selection, access roads and material sites. Also included in the two-year contract are geospatial services and project mapping. Larkspur Associates LLC will provide cost estimating for the gas treatment plant, compressor stations, plants and other facilities. Price-Gregory will provide cost estimating for the pipelines and facilities, and Northern Economics will provide economic modeling and cost of service determination. Baker will also be responsible for providing support for environmental permitting for the 700-mile pipeline project.

Quest Resource Corp. (QRCP) has been granted its request to continue to be listed on NASDAQ subject to the condition that it file by Aug. 15 its required quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for 3Q2008, 1Q2009 and any required restatements. The exploration and production company and its related partnerships, which are based in Oklahoma City, have agreed to merge and form a publicly traded corporation (see NGI, July 13). The entities have been rocked by scandal in the past year after the former CEO and former CFO allegedly siphoned millions of dollars from the company (see NGI, June 22).

A nitrogen release during testing of a segment of Midcontinent Express Pipeline (MEP) in Mississippi last Wednesday afternoon killed one worker and sent three to the hospital with “critical” injuries, according to the state’s Emergency Management Agency and a partner in the project. The pipeline is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Energy Transfer Partners LLC. The incident occurred south of Sylvarena, MS, in Smith County. Kinder Morgan spokesman Joe Hollier said the pipeline segment was not in service and was being tested by Priority Energy, a subcontractor of Grand Bluff Construction. “We do not anticipate a delay for in-service dates [of the pipeline],” Hollier said. The pipeline is slated for operation by Aug. 1. Although Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported that there had been an explosion and a fire at the scene, Hollier said this was not the case. “There was no fire or explosion, just a nitrogen release as Priority Energy was pressuring the line as they were conducting the test,” Hollier told NGI. More than half of the $1.3 billion pipeline project — from Bennington, OK, to Delhi, LA — was in interim service as of last month. When complete, MEP will extend from southeast Oklahoma across northeast Texas, northern Louisiana and central Mississippi to an interconnection with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line near Butler, AL. The pipeline will be capable of delivering 1.5 Bcf/d. Last month MEP asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to begin service at compressor and booster stations (see NGI, June 22).

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Bobcat Gas Storage the go-ahead to place into service a second cavern at its facility in St. Landry Parish, LA.The project is 1.5 miles southeast of Port Barre in south-central Louisiana, and will have working gas capacity of approximately 10.3 Bcf when the two caverns are in operation. The first cavern went into service in November 2008 (see NGI, Nov. 10, 2008). The storage facilities may be fully built-out to as much as 15.6 Bcf by the end of the year. The Bobcat facility is 45 miles from Henry Hub and provides access to offshore gas and onshore in Texas and Louisiana, as well as from the Barnett Shale. Bobcat interconnects with five interstate pipelines — Florida Gas Transmission Co., Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp., ANR Pipeline Co. and Gulf South Pipeline Co. — and delivers gas to markets in the Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Florida. Bobcat is being developed by Port Barre Investments LLC, Haddington Energy Partners III LP and GE Energy Financial Services.

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) and Coast Guard announced the availability of the final environmental review for Port Dolphin Energy LLC’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port off the western coast of Florida. Public comments on the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) are due Aug. 23. Federal and state agencies must submit comments, recommended conditions for licensing or letters of no objection by Sept. 11. Also by Sept. 11, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist may either approve, disapprove or notify MARAD of inconsistencies with state programs relating to environmental protection, land and water use, and coastal zone management for which MARAD may condition the license to make it consistent. The deepwater LNG project would have a peak delivery capacity of 1.2 Bcf/d, according to Port Dolphin Energy, the U.S. subsidiary of Norwegian company Hoegh LNG AS. It noted that no major onshore facilities would be needed to bring the natural gas to the Florida market. The offshore terminal would be located 28 miles from the Florida coast and would not be visible from shore, the company said. Port Dolphin’s FEIS, application and comments can be viewed at under docket number USCG-2006-28532.

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