Firm to build Collbran Valley pipeline

While many energy companies are scaling back their Western Slope operations in the economic recession, one company is pushing forward with the construction of a pipeline to feed a natural gas processing plant that recently doubled its capacity.

Enterprise Products Partners, L.P., based in Houston, is pushing forward with a 21.8-mile-long natural gas pipeline in the Collbran area. Gas will be pumped to its recently expanded Meeker II natural gas processing plant in the Piceance Basin.

“One of the cornerstones of what we call our Western franchise is the ability to provide producers ... access to the most attractive markets,” said Rick Rainey, spokesman for Enterprise.

The Collbran Valley pipeline is a buried line. The Bureau of Land Management recently concluded its study of it and gave the company permission to begin building May 15 on BLM lands.

Rainey said the 24-inch-diameter line will be able to carry 700 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. It should be finished before the end of the year, he said.

The line Enterprise will build formerly was owned by EnCana USA and sold to Enterprise last year. Rainey would not say how much it will cost Enterprise to build the pipeline.

The pipeline starts in Anderson Gulch and loops its way west and north until it reaches the Great Divide Gathering System in Garfield County. The line crosses 10.7 miles of BLM land, three-tenths of a mile of U.S. Forest Service land and 10.8 miles of private ground.

From the Great Divide Gathering system the gas is piped north to the Piceance system and up into Rio Blanco County, where it is processed at the expanded Meeker II plant.

The Meeker II facility, which had its natural gas capacity doubled, can now handle “1.5 billion cubic feet per day with the capability to extract up to 70,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids,” according to a news release from Enterprise.

The gas is then shipped to Gaines County, Texas, and distributed for home and commercial use, Rainey said.

“It is a very large integrated network that this Collbran Valley project is a part of,” he said.

But it is only a small piece and is not expected to affect the price paid for natural gas coming from Colorado’s Western Slope.

“It is much tougher to get gas to market in the Rockies than in places such as Texas,” said Doug Hock, EnCana spokesman.

He said gas produced in the Rocky Mountain region is selling for 25 percent less than gas produced elsewhere because of the lack of sufficient transportation lines.

“We don’t have as much pipeline to get it to market,” Hock said.


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