FERC approves pipeline project

Approval has been granted for the construction of a pipeline that will extend from the Cheyenne Hub in Colorado to an interconnection with Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line in Missouri.

The project was given the go ahead yesterday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the 713 mile, 42-inch diameter pipeline that will also interconnect with the pipeline systems of Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission, Northern Natural Gas Company, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America and ANR. Actual construction on Rockies Express-West is expected to commence in May with an in-service target date of January 1, 2008.

Rockies Express Pipeline LLC is a $4.4bn joint venture of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Sempra Pipelines and Storage, a unit of Sempra Energy, and ConocoPhillips.

When completed, after receipt of all necessary approvals, the 1,678-mile pipeline will have a capacity of approximately 1.8 billion cubic feet per day. Binding firm commitments from shippers have been secured for virtually all of the capacity on the pipeline. KMP is overseeing construction of the project and will operate the pipeline.

The first 328-mile segment of the Rockies Express project, which runs from the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, to the Wamsutter Hub in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, to the Cheyenne Hub, is in service and has a current capacity of 500,000 dekatherms per day.

The final segment of the project is Rockies Express-East, which will consist of 637 miles of pipeline from eastern Missouri to the Clarington Hub in eastern Ohio.

Subject to receipt of regulatory approvals, Rockies Express-East is expected to begin interim service as early as January 1, 2009, and to be fully operational by June 2009.