FERC Monday issued a favorable environmental review of Rockies Express Pipeline’s (REX) proposal for compressor additions to expand capacity between Meeker Hub and Cheyenne Hub on the REX/Entrega leg of the 1,679-mile west-to-east system.

“Approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in its environmental assessment of the proposed expansion [CP09-58].

The proposed Meeker-to-Cheyenne expansion would accommodate EnCana Marketing USA Inc.’s contractual ramp-up in rights to increase its capacity on only the 327-mile REX/Entrega portion of the pipeline, which provides takeaway capacity out of supply basins in Colorado and Wyoming to the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO. EnCana Marketing’s contractual ramp-up rights do not apply to pipeline facilities already built for the REX-West leg or the under-construction REX-East segment.

The project application, which was filed in February, seeks to increase the capacity from Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, CO, to Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County, WY, by approximately 200 MMcf/d to 1.3 Bcf/d, and the capacity from Wamsutter to Cheyenne Hub would ramp up, upon completion of the REX-East project facility later this year, to 2 Bcf/d from 1.8 Bcf/d, according to REX (see Daily GPI, Feb. 19).

The expansion would permit REX to transport on a firm basis an additional 200,000 Dth/d from Meeker Hub northward to Wamsutter Hub on behalf of Wyoming Interstate Co. and 200,000 Dth/d from Wamsutter eastward to Cheyenne Hub on behalf of EnCana Marketing, REX said.

The project calls for the construction of a 20,500-hp International Standards Organization (ISO)-rated gas-powered compressor unit at the pipeline’s Big Hole Compressor Station, and a 17,500-hp ISO-rated hp electric-powered compressor unit and associated facilities at its Arlington Compressor Station.

REX has called on the Commission to approve the Meeker-to-Cheyenne expansion by July 16 of this year so the facilities can be placed in service by April 1, 2010.

The massive REX pipeline consists of three sections: REX/Entrega, REX-West and REX-East. The REX/Entrega leg and REX-West, a 713-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline that extends from Cheyenne Hub to Audrain County, MO, are already in operation. Now under construction is the REX-East leg, a 638-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline that will extend from an interconnection with the eastern terminus of REX-West in Audrain County through Illinois and Indiana, terminating at an interconnection with three pipelines at Clarington Hub in Monroe County, OH.

Service on REX-East to Lebanon, OH, is expected to begin June 15 with a capacity of 1.6 Bcf/d, and the line is due to be fully in service to Clarington, OH, by Nov. 1 with a capacity of 1.8 Bcf/d, REX said (see Daily GPI, May 18).

REX is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Sempra Pipelines and Storage and ConocoPhillips.

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