FERC on Wednesday upheld a prior order rejecting Turtle Bayou Gas Storage Co. LLC’s bid to build a salt dome gas storage facility and associated pipeline facilities northeast of Houston.

The company was turned down for rehearing because of a technicality: it filed its request on July 18, 2011 at 6:25 p.m., nearly an hour and a half after the 5 p.m. deadline for it to be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Turtle Bayou urged the Commission to overlook the “technical noncompliance.” But the company was required to file its request for rehearing within 30 days of the June 16, 2011 order (see Daily GPI, June 17, 2011). Because the request was filed after regular business hours at FERC on July 18, 2011, it was docketed as filed on July 19, 2011, or 31 days after the the June 16 order was issued.

In its initial rejection of Turtle Bayou’s application, FERC said the owners of the oil, natural gas and other minerals in the salt formation where proposed subsurface storage caverns would be located protested the proposal, asserting that Turtle Bayou had not obtained the necessary property and mineral rights for construction and operation of the project [CP10-481]t.

The Commission found that the potential use of eminent domain to acquire the necessary property rights would be a significant adverse impact on the mineral interest owners, and concluded that Turtle Bayou had not demonstrated a specific showing of need for its proposed storage facilities in proportion to the identified adverse impacts on mineral interest owners.

Turtle Bayou’s application called for construction of a two-cavern, 12 Bcf storage facility in Chambers and Liberty counties about 40 miles from Houston, as well as pipeline facilities that would extend from the storage facility to Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America and Texas Eastern Transmission.

Turtle Bayou, still a fairly new company, doesn’t own any existing storage facilities. It is 100% owned by The Cornelia Lacey Wright Testamentary Trust, ASTO Overbrook Land LLC, The Pittman Charitable Trust, Entrust Administration of the Southeast FBO James Standridge IRA, and Entrust Administration of the Southeast FBO Vaughn P. Stough IRA.

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