Northern Natural Gas Co. on behalf of itself, as well as Southern Natural Gas and Florida Gas Transmission, has asked FERC for the green light to abandon in place offshore facilities and onshore facilities in Texas, known as the Matagorda Offshore Pipeline System (MOPS), which are seldom used by shippers anymore.

During April, the MOPS system transported less than 6,500 Dth/d, which is a fraction of the system’s original design capacity of 480,000 Dth/d, Northern Natural, which is the majority owner and operator of the MOPS system, told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “The MOPS facilities are now grossly underutilized by the MOPS shippers/producers and have served their useful life.”

In August 2012, FERC approved Northern’s request to abandon the MOPS Phase III facilities. It is now is asking the Commission for approval to abandon the Phase I and Phase II MOPS facilities, which consist of about 55 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline that begin in federal waters offshore Texas in the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda Block 686 and continue downstream to onshore facilities at Tivoli, TX, and to interconnects with other interstate and intrastate pipelines.

In addition to dwindling pipeline volumes, evidence demonstrates that production declines are permanent, Northern said. At the time of the April 2011 order, in which FERC denied Northern’s abandonment request, there were 17 production points (out of the original 30), and now there are only four production points tied into the MOPS system.

“MOPS volumes have declined 80% since the original abandonment filing. Further, there have been no new wells drilled, no new applications for a permit to drill, and no new leases acquired for future development in the area of MOPS since the Commission’s order denying abandonment,” Northern Natural said.

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