Midcontinent Express Pipeline LLC (MEP) Friday asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization to begin service on expansion facilities associated with the 500-mile Oklahoma-to-Alabama pipeline that provides shale gas producers with greater market access.

When the new compression facilities are in operation, MEP will have 1.8 Bcf/d of capacity in Zone 1, which extends 308 miles from an interconnection with Enogex at Bennington, OK, to an interconnection with Columbia Gulf Transmission near Delhi, LA [CP09-56]. And MEP will have capacity of 1.2 Bcf/d in Zone 2, which spans about 200 miles from Delhi to Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s Station 85 in Butler, AL (see Daily GPI, Sept. 18, 2009).

The compression expansion will boost takeaway capacity either directly or indirectly from the Barnett Shale, Woodford Shale, Fayetteville Shale, the Anadarko and Arkoma basins, and Bossier Sands.

MEP is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP) and Energy Transfer Partners LLC (ETP). The MEP expansion called for the installation of one 6,135 hp compressor unit at its Lamar Compressor Station in Lamar County, TX; the addition of 4,090 hp at the Atlanta Compressor Station in Cass County, TX; and an additional 6,135 hp compressor unit at the Vicksburg Compressor Station in Warren County, MS.

As a result of an open season in the summer of 2008, MEP said it entered into two long-term firm transportation precedent agreements with nonaffiliated shippers (Chesapeake Energy Marketing Inc. and National Fuel Marketing Co.) for the entire 300,000 Dth/d of expansion capacity.

The MEP system went into operation in August 2009, providing shale gas producers with a major route to eastern markets (see Daily GPI, Aug. 4, 2009). The $1.3 billion pipeline begins in Oklahoma, runs through Louisiana and ends at an interconnection with Transco at its Station 85 near Butler, AL.

The pipeline was built in response to the shale gas boom and to move supplies eastward to markets in Florida and the Northeast. The pipe is also seen as a way to keep supply and markets connected should Gulf of Mexico production go offline in the event of a hurricane.

KMP and ETP each own a 45% interest in MEP. MarkWest Pioneer LLC, a subsidiary of MarkWest Energy Partners LP, entered into an option agreement to acquire 10% of the equity of MEP.

©Copyright 2010Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.