Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (REX) Tuesday said the final 210 miles of the Rockies Express West pipeline (REX-West) are in service. About 500 miles of REX-West had already begun service Jan. 12, providing the ability for shippers to move gas from the Cheyenne Hub to interconnects in Nebraska and Kansas.

Monday a U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Pipeline Safety source told NGI that the agency would allow the remaining portion of REX-West to enter service Tuesday but at a reduced operating pressure while it investigates allegations by former project inspectors that crews from Georgia-based Latex Construction Co. failed to install critical pipeline equipment that could cause problems in the long term (see Daily GPI, May 20). A REX spokesman said Tuesday that REX-West was running at 1,100 psi but eventually could go up to 1,480 psi.

REX-West is a 713-mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline running from the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County, CO, to Audrain County, MO. The completion of REX-West increases the capacity on the pipeline to 1.5 Bcf/d. REX-West interconnects with Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission, Northern Natural Gas Co., Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, ANR and Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company.

REX-West is the largest segment of the nearly 1,700-mile REX system, which is being built in three main sections, including the 327-mile REX-Entrega line, the REX-West leg and the REX-East portion, a 638-mile segment that will extend REX eastward from Missouri to Clarington, OH.

“We are delighted REX-West is fully in service and look forward to beginning construction this summer on the final segment of the project, REX-East,” said Scott Parker, president of Kinder Morgan’s natural gas pipelines.

The entire REX project is expected to be fully operational by June 2009, the company said.

REX is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP); Sempra Pipelines and Storage, a unit of Sempra Energy; and ConocoPhillips. It is one of the largest natural gas pipelines to be constructed in North America. When completed, the $4.5 billion, 1,678-mile REX pipeline will have a capacity of approximately 1.8 Bcf/d. Binding firm commitments from creditworthy shippers have been secured for all of the capacity on the pipeline. KMP is overseeing construction of the project and is the operator of the pipeline.

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