Trailblazer Pipeline Co. LLC (TPC) and Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (REX) are moving through the regulatory process with plans to abandon the Trailblazer system and repurpose the infrastructure for carbon dioxide (CO2) transportation. 

trailblazer pipeline map

The two Tallgrass Energy Partners-owned midstreamers in late May filed plans for the abandonment project with FERC. 

The plan involves abandoning 392 miles of the Trailblazer pipeline as well as three TPC compressor stations, including one natural gas-fired compressor. The pipeline would be reconfigured to transport CO2, which would ultimately be sequestered at a proposed sequestration hub in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. 

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Denver-based Project Canary would provide third-party monitoring and verification services at the Eastern Wyoming Sequestration Hub, a spokesperson for Tallgrass told NGI. 

REX and TPC are also seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for REX to construct various pipeline facilities and booster compression stations to uptake the natural gas flow from the Trailblazer pipeline.

According to FERC filing earlier this month, the proposed construction calls for an 18.8-mile, 20-inch lateral pipeline in Nebraska from a segment of the REX pipeline in Franklin County to a segment of the Trailblazer pipeline in Adams County. Another 22.2-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline would be installed from the REX pipeline in Jefferson County, NE, to a segment of the Trailblazer pipeline in Saline County, NE. 

New REX facilities would be built along the pipeline in Weld, Logan and Sedgwick counties in Colorado, as well as in Kimball, Franklin, Webster, Jefferson, Perkins, Lincoln, Kearney, Fillmore, Adams and Saline counties in Nebraska. 

REX is also seeking approval to lease capacity to TPC, which would allow TPC to continue the services it provides on the abandoned facilities while allowing a seamless transition for TPC’s existing shippers, according to FERC filings. 

“Based on current utilization and available contractible capacity, there is more than sufficient space on REX to accommodate all of the current capacity and commitments on the Trailblazer pipeline,” the spokesperson said. 

Commissioners are preparing an environmental review for the project and are accepting public comments until Aug. 10. If approved, TPC and REX estimate the conversion project could also be completed in early 2024, the spokesperson said. 

FERC filings show an estimated project cost for TPC and REX exceeding $237 million. However, the figure “is associated with the new natural gas related infrastructure to provide continued service for the Trailblazer customers and markets, and does not include the capital associated with CO2 laterals, transportation and sequestration,” the spokesperson said.

The 450-mile TPC system, constructed 40 years ago, links Cheyenne, WY, to Beatrice, NE where it interconnects with larger interstate pipelines that transport natural gas to major Midwest and Northeast consumer markets. 

The REX system was completed in 2009 and spans 1,700 miles through Wyoming and Colorado to eastern Ohio. 

In September, REX, which moves 4.4 Bcf/d to Midwest markets from key producing basins in the Rockies and Appalachia, became the first interstate natural gas transmission system to be certified by Project Canary.