FERC on Tuesday gave environmental clearance to Gold Pass Pipeline LP’s plan to enlarge pipe facilities in Jefferson and Orange counties in East Texas that will support ExxonMobil’s proposed Golden Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Louisiana.

The “approval of the proposed project with appropriate mitigating measures as recommended, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of human environment,” FERC staff said in an environmental assessment of the project [CP04-400-001].

The so-called Optimized Pipeline Project would replace two 36-inch diameter pipelines (mainline and loop) that were approved by FERC with a single 42-inch diameter pipeline that would run from the Golden Pass LNG terminal to an interconnection with American Electric Power’s Texoma Pipeline. It also would incorporate a route change that would reduce the pipeline length between the two points to 11.9 miles from 20.8 miles, and would relocate interconnections with Kinder Morgan’s Tejas Pipeline, Kinder Morgan’s Texas Pipeline and Centana Gas Pipeline.

In July 2005, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Golden Pass LNG import terminal to be sited near Sabine Pass, TX, and associated pipeline facilities. The terminal would have capacity of 1 Bcf/d, expandable to 2 Bcf/d, and is targeted for in-service in late 2008. The pipe system that was approved in the July 2005 order called for 77.8 miles of 36-inch diameter mainline, 42.8 miles of 36-inch diameter loop and 1.8 miles of 24-inch diameter lateral.

The Optimized Pipeline Project would increase the diameter of part of the line and would reduce the length of the system slightly.

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