Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Midship Pipeline has entered service to move more natural gas from the Midcontinent to Gulf Coast and Southeast markets, including the company’s Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in South Texas.

Affiliate Midship Pipeline Co. LLC said in March that construction was complete and requested to place the 200-mile system in Oklahoma online by April 17. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted the request last week and Midship began scheduling volumes Monday for gas day April 21 for all receipt and delivery points except Iron Horse and Velma, which are due to come online April 24 and April 28, respectively.

Service officially began on Tuesday with total nominations of 182 MMcf/d, according to Genscape Inc., which added that Wednesday nominations were slightly higher at 190 MMcf/d. Genscape said firm contracts don’t take effect until May 1, and Midship would schedule interruptible service likely to result in similar flows until then.

Genscape said there are no drilled but uncompleted wells in the Midcontinent awaiting Midship service and production isn’t expected to increase as the pipeline starts up, “especially in the current economic environment, with the record-breaking drop in oil prices on April 20 and producer announced shut-ins.”

U.S LNG exports are also likely to face pressure in the coming weeks and months as the spread between the country and key markets in Asia and Europe has continued to narrow and squeeze offtakers’ margins. Feed gas deliveries fell to 7.6 Bcf/d on Tuesday, according to NGI’s U.S. LNG Export Tracker, their lowest point since mid-March, but it’s difficult to tell whether such declines are due to economics or other issues such as maintenance. Volumes bounced back above the 8 Bcf/d mark on Wednesday.

[View NGI’s U.S. LNG Export Tracker]

Midship moves natural gas from the Sooner Trend of the Anadarko Basin, mostly in Canadian and Kingfisher counties (STACK) and the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP). The system includes a newbuild mainline pipeline and three compressor stations, seven receipt meter stations, two lateral pipelines with a booster station and associated facilities. The pipeline begins in Kingfisher County, OK, and terminates at interconnects with existing natural gas pipelines near Bennington, OK.

The 1.44 Bcf/d, 36-inch diameter Midship executed precedent agreements with Marathon Oil Co., Gulfport Energy Corp. and Devon Gas Services, LP as foundation shippers for firm transportation totaling 850 MMcf/d, each for a minimum term of 10 years. Another 75 MMcf/d is subscribed by Corpus Christi LNG.