Southeast Storage Development Co. LLC, a subsidiary of Southern Natural Gas, has been granted an exemption from Section 7 certificate requirements to determine the feasibility of developing an underground natural gas storage facility in South-Central Mississippi.

In its request for a Natural Gas Act (NGA) exemption, Southeast Storage said it was seeking to drill a 6,000-foot stratigraphic test well on a 72-acre site in Smith County, MS, to gather site-specific geologic, stratigraphic and hydrologic data on the salt dome and surrounding formations. It also proposes to drill a 3,000-foot fresh water supply test well and a 6,000-foot brine disposal well on a 7.5-acre site to test the capability of the formations surrounding the storage facility for water supply and brine disposal purposes.

Southern Natural has obtained an agreement granting it an option to purchase the 72-acre and the 7.5-acre parcels of land in Smith County, according to the order [CP06-453]. The option includes permission from the current landowners to drill the test wells.

“We find it in the public interest to exempt the proposed activities from the certificate requirements of NGA Section 7(c). We find that without performing the proposed activities, Southeast Storage cannot make an informed business and engineering decision regarding the feasibility of developing a new storage complex, which would allow it to better serve the growing gas demand needs in the region,” the FERC order said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Southeast Storage one year to complete its drilling and testing activities. The company was expressly formed for the purpose of exploring the potential for the new underground gas storage facility.

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