Firm gets OK to build pipeline for natural gas

Williams said today its majority-owned subsidiary has obtained federal approval to build a 15.5-mile pipeline costing up to $65 million to help deliver Piceance Basin gas to western U.S. markets.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has provided authorization to Northwest Pipeline GP to build and operate the Sundance Trail Expansion.

The 30-inch-diameter pipeline in Wyoming will replace a 16-inch one and improve the connection from the Greasewood and Meeker/White River natural gas hubs in Rio Blanco County to the Opal Hub in Wyoming.

“The Sundance Trail Project will meet the demand from producers to provide transportation capacity to move gas from one of the fastest-growing gas production fields in the Rockies to markets in the western U.S.,” Phil Wright, president of Williams’ natural gas pipeline business, said in a news release.

“At the Opal Hub, producers have access to six interstate pipelines, including Northwest, which provides significant supply options for transporting natural gas.”

Williams’ Northwest Pipeline reaches the Seattle and Portland markets. Williams Pipeline Partners L.P. owns a 35 percent interest in Northwest Pipeline GP.

The new pipeline will be capable of transporting about 150 million cubic feet of gas per day and is expected to be operational by next November.

The project includes replacement and enhancement of Northwest’s gas compression facilities at the Vernal Compressor Station in Utah.

Last month, Northwest Pipeline GP completed the 26.4-mile, 24-inch-diameter Colorado Hub Connection pipeline linking the Meeker/White River area to the Northwest Pipeline mainline system south of Rangely.

That project provided another outlet for Piceance Basin gas. Northwest Pipeline also goes south to Ignacio, Colo., connecting to the El Paso Natural Gas and Transwestern Pipeline Co. and providing further access to western markets.

Until recently, pipeline capacity to markets outside the Rockies had been a problem for gas produced in western Colorado’s Piceance Basin by Williams and other companies.

However, that problem has been addressed by recent projects, most notably the new Rockies Express pipeline that reaches eastern Ohio.


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