New pipeline will take gas to markets out of state

Following a sign-off by the federal government, Williams Partners L.P. has begun operating a new pipeline that will help locally produced natural gas reach interstate markets.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Williams Partners’ Northwest Pipeline GP to put a 30-inch-diameter pipeline into service.

The Sundance Trail Expansion project includes about 15.5 miles of pipeline and related facilities in Wyoming.

The Sundance Trail pipeline connects the Greasewood and Meeker/White River gas pipeline hubs in Rio Blanco County to the Opal Hub area in Wyoming. From there, gas can be transported via six interstate pipelines, including Williams’ Northwest Pipeline, which reaches Seattle and Portland.

The recently completed project improves the Sundance Trail connection from the Piceance Basin to the Opal Hub by expanding a section previously served by a 16-inch-diameter pipeline. The expansion allows for transportation of 150 million cubic feet of gas per day.

The project also included replacing and adding gas compression facilities at Northwest’s Vernal Compressor Station in Uintah County, Utah.

The total project cost was about $56 million. Construction started in April.

Seventy-seven percent of Williams Partners is owned by Williams, the largest natural gas producer in western Colorado’s Piceance Basin.

Lack of pipeline capacity previously had been blamed for lowering the price of gas produced in the Rocky Mountains. But industry officials say the shortage of capacity generally has been eliminated by completion of several pipeline projects over the last year or so.


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