Denver Business Journal - 3 Dec 07

Prof. Robert B. Laughlin
Department of Physics
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
(Copied 26 Jul 09)

El Paso Plans Massive Natural Gas Pipeline

Monday, December 3, 2007

Another major natural gas pipeline from the Rocky Mountains to other markets was announced Monday, when El Paso Corp. said it wants to build a pipeline from southwestern Wyoming to Oregon.

El Paso (NYSE: EP) is based in Houston.

It's one of several pipeline projects announced recently to expand the Industry's capacity to ship natural gas out of the Rocky Mountains.

El Paso said it's filed a right-of-way application with the Bureau of Land Management for the "Ruby Pipeline" project -- a 680-mile, 42-inch pipeline to carry natural gas from the Opal Hub in Wyoming to another hub in Malin, Ore., near California's northern border.

An El Paso spokesman said the company wasn't releasing a cost estimate on the project.

The pipeline will have an initial capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet per day -- similar to the $4.4 billion Rockies Express pipeline that will carry natural gas from Colorado's Western Slope 1,678 miles to eastern Ohio. El Paso said the Ruby pipeline will be expandable to 2 billion cubic feet per day.

A point man on the Rockies Express pipeline, Jeff Rawls, formerly with Houston-based Kinder Morgan, also is involved in the Ruby pipeline project, managing director of Bear Energy LP, a subsidiary of New York City-based The Bear Sterns Cos. Inc. (NYSE: BSC)

El Paso said it's planning to partner on the project with Bear Energy, and said the latter may become a shipper on the pipeline.

Subject to regulatory approval, and after obtaining necessary customer commitments, the Ruby Pipeline is anticipated to be in service in the first quarter of 2011, El Paso said.

Other pipeline projects include Houston-based Spectra Energy's Nov. 1 announcement to build the "Bronco Pipeline," a 650-mile pipeline from southwestern Wyoming to Malin, Ore. -- the same path as El Paso's Ruby pipeline. Spectra said the Bronco pipeline will have a capacity of 1 billion cubic feet per day and cost more than $3 billion. It could be in operation in 2011, Spectra said.

Also, the Kern River pipeline, which currently has a capacity of 1.7 billion cubic feet per day, is asking shippers if they're interested in having the pipeline expand by up to 500,000 cubic feet per day. The pipeline runs from southwestern Wyoming to southern California through Utah and Nevada.