El Paso subsidiary Southern Natural Gas Co. started an open season last Tuesday to test market interest in a new 14 Bcf salt dome gas storage project in Smith County, MS. The New Home gas storage field, which would consist of two storage caverns, would be a high deliverability, multi-cycle storage project designed to serve the Southeast via the Southern Natural mainline.

The project would be built in two phases, each of which would provide 7 Bcf of storage and 700 MMcf/d of deliverability. The caverns would be solution mined at a depth starting at 3,500 feet below the surface and reaching 5,000 feet and would be approximately 250 feet in diameter. The project would be connected to the Southern Natural mainline via a new nine-mile pipeline connection.

Southern said it expects to file an application for the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2007 and hopes to begin construction in 2008. The company estimates the phase one cavern would be in service by mid-2010 and phase two by mid-2012.

Southern said the project would provide much needed natural gas storage services to help manage demand and price volatility for local gas distribution companies, power plants and other consumers in the Southeast. For more information, visit www.elpaso.com or call (866) 683-5587.

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