Although renamed, Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Natural Gas Co. (EPNG) unit is on track to put in service next year a 60-mile, 36-inch diameter natural gas pipeline in Arizona, connecting the EPNG southern system near Tucson to the Mexican border under the new name of the Sierrita Lateral Project (formerly Sasabe).

A Houston-based Kinder Morgan spokesperson confirmed this after the announcement that Japan’s Mitsui is planning to build a pipeline over a similar route to Sasabe, AZ, on the U.S. border (see Daily GPI, April 11), where a new gas transmission pipeline crossing is planned to deliver U.S. gas deeper into Mexico to help fuel state-run electric generation plants.

Kinder will not comment on this latest proposal and whether it is duplicative of the Sierrita Lateral. Given that all regulatory approvals are forthcoming this year, EPNG, through its affiliate Sierrita Gas Pipeline LLC, will begin construction of the pipeline in the first quarter next year and have it in service by September 2014.

The Sierrita project initially is to provide 200 MMcf/d from a point on the EPNG southern system near Tucson to Sasabe, where it would connect with a project that Sempra International has been selected by Mexico’s Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) to construct, own and operate approximately 500 miles of transmission pipelines from the border down into Mexico, connecting the two northwest states of Sonora and Sinaloa.

Sierrita’s filing (formerly by Sasabe Pipeline Co.) was made at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in early February. FERC’s approval and a Presidential Permit for exporting the gas are expected by the end of this year, the Kinder spokesperson said.

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