FERC approves major gas export project along Texas/Mexico border

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 14 approved an application for a major new gas pipeline crossing into Mexico in Webb County, Texas.

In July 2014, Colombia Pipeline LLC filed an application requesting a Presidential Permit and authorization pursuant to section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 153 of the commission’s regulations to site, construct, and operate border-crossing facilities for the purpose of exporting natural gas to Mexico. The border-crossing facilities would be located at the international boundary in Webb County, Texas, and in the vicinity of Colombia, State of Nuevo León in Mexico.

In August 2014, Colombia Pipeline changed its name to Impulsora Pipeline LLC, which is the name used for the May 14 approval. Impulsora Pipeline is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Howard Midstream Energy Partners LLC, a midstream service provider focused primarily on the Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas.

Impulsora sought commission authorization under section 3 of the NGA and a Presidential Permit to site, construct, operate, and maintain border-crossing facilities to transport natural gas that it, an affiliate, or shipper on its system has been authorized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy to export to Mexico. The border-crossing facilities will consist of one 36-inch-diameter, 4,000-foot-long pipeline and one 12-inch-diameter, 2,500-foot-long pipeline that will run parallel to the 36-inch-diameter pipeline. The pipelines will be installed using two horizontal directional drills under the Rio Grande River from the Mexican side and will be approximately 20 to 40 feet apart.

The export facilities will have a design capacity of approximately 1,120 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day and a maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) of 1,440 pounds per square inch gauge (psig). However, Impulsora expects the border crossing facilities will operate at approximately 700 psig. In addition to the two pipelines, Impulsora proposes to construct and operate a meter and pigging equipment, consisting of one 12-inch pig receiver and one 36-inch pig receiver that will be situated on 0.6 acre of land.

Under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission, Texas Pipeline Webb County Lean System LLC (TP Lean) contemplates constructing an intrastate pipeline, the Eagle Ford Gathering (EFG) Extension, to supply the border-crossing facilities with gas. The EFG Extension will consist of approximately 6.2 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline that will extend in a southerly direction from TP Lean’s existing non-jurisdictional facilities in Webb County, Texas to the proposed border-crossing facilities. TP Lean’s intrastate system consists of approximately 133.5 miles of pipeline with over 410 MMcf/d of transport capacity, designed for lean gas service in Webb County. The EFG Extension is expected to initially transport solely Texas-sourced gas gathered from TP Lean’s intrastate system.

A 0.48-mile-long pipeline will be constructed on the Mexico side of the international border on behalf of Impulsora LT S.A.P.I. de C.V. This pipeline will deliver natural gas from the border-crossing facilities into a pipeline system owned by Con-Gas S.A.P.I. de C.V. (Con-Gas), which will transport the gas to a power plant to be constructed near Colombia, Nuevo León, Mexico.

Said the May 14 FERC order: “A Presidential Permit and NGA section 3 authorization are issued authorizing Impulsora to site, construct, operate, and maintain border-crossing facilities to export natural gas, as described and conditioned in this order, subject to the conditions of the Presidential Permit and compliance with the environmental conditions in Appendix A to this order.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.