North American, International Pipeline Construction Remains Strong

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | November 2009 Vol. 64 No. 11

The report also states that about 11 percent of all newly added natural gas pipeline capacity for 2008, or 4.6 Bcf/d, is attributable to new intrastate pipelines built to transport expanding Barnett shale production to local markets and to interconnections with the interstate natural gas pipeline network. In turn, several major interstate pipeline projects were also constructed to continue the flow of this natural gas beyond east Texas to interstate pipeline interconnections in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. These projects included the new Southeast Supply Header Pipeline (Louisiana to Mississippi), the new Gulf South Southeast Extension (Mississippi to Alabama) and the Gulf South Texas to Mississippi Expansion, which added more than 4.1 Bcf/d to the natural gas pipeline network in the Gulf Coast region.

LNG
Also found among the major natural gas pipeline additions of 2008 were several large capacity pipelines built to link the interstate natural gas pipeline network to several LNG import terminals that were newly commissioned or expanded during the year. Such projects accounted for 10.9 Bcf/d of new natural gas pipeline capacity, or about 24 percent of total new capacity. Accounting for another 8.5 Bcf/d, or 19 percent of new pipeline capacity, were nine major bidirectional header systems built to support new natural gas underground storage facilities.

As to the largest natural gas pipeline project completed in 2008, which was not associated with an LNG import or underground storage facility, was the 1.5 Bcf per day, 720 mile, REX Pipeline system. Commencing at the Cheyenne Hub in northeastern Colorado and terminating in eastern Missouri, this pipeline was constructed principally to link the expanding natural gas production of Wyoming and western Colorado to midwestern markets, and to eventually extend to markets in the northeastern United States (in 2011).

The western leg of the Rockies Express (REX West) Pipeline came online January 8, 2009, connecting the Rockies region with the Midcontinent region. After its opening the 713 mile REX West has operated at near capacity.

A portion of REX East, the third phase of the REX project, from Audrain County, MO, to the Lebanon Hub in Warren County, OH, began service on June 29, 2009. The remainder of the 639 mile, 42 inch diameter REX East pipeline eastward to Clarington, OH, is expected to begin service by November 1, 2009.