FERC notifies Energy Dept. about U.S.-to-Mexico gas pipeline project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent a May 14 letter to the U.S. Department of Energy giving notice about an April 9 application from Roadrunner Gas Transmission LLC for authorization under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act and a Presidential Permit to build and maintain natural gas pipeline facilities to export natural gas at a point on the international boundary in El Paso County, Texas, and Mexico in the vicinity of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

In its April 9, filing, Roadrunner states that the new border crossing facilities will consist of approximately 900 feet of 30-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline installed by horizontal directional drill that will commence in El Paso County, Texas, and extend beneath the Rio Grande River to Mexico.

Roadrunner has asked FERC to expeditiously grant these authorizations by Sept. 1, 2015, to enable Roadrunner to construct and commence service through the Border Crossing Facilities in the first quarter of 2016.

Roadrunner was formed to construct, own, and operate an intrastate pipeline in the State of Texas under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission, as well as the Border Crossing Facilities that are the subject of thia April 9 application. The sole member of Roadrunner is Roadrunner Gas Transmission Holdings LLC. Its members are ONEOK Gas Storage Holdings LLC and Fermaca RR Holdings Inc. ONEOK Storage is a subsidiary of ONEOK Partners LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership involved in the gathering, processing, storage and transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids and the fractionation of natural gas liquids in the United States. Fermaca RR is a part of the Fermaca group of companies that develop, construct, own and operate natural gas pipelines and other energy related assets in Mexico and is a leading operator of gas infrastructure assets in Mexico.

The Border Crossing Facilities will be owned by Roadrunner, but the construction will be managed by and the facilities will be operated by an affiliate of Roadrunner, ONEOK WesTex Transmission LLC, pursuant to an operating agreement with Roadrunner.

The facilities will consist of approximately 900 feet of 30-inch-diameter pipeline. The facilities will have an ultimate design capacity of approximately 875,000 Mcf/day and a Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) of approximately 1,220 pounds per square inch gauge. The Border Crossing Facilities will cost approximately $750,000.

At the International Boundary, Roadrunner will connect with Tarahumara Pipeline S. de R.L. de C.V., a subsidiary of Fermaca Enterprises S. de R.L. de C.V. (“Tarahumara Pipeline”), which will exit in the vicinity of the town of San Isidro, Municipality of Ciudad Juárez, State of Chihuahua, Republic of México. Roadrunner anticipates that it will enter into an interconnection and operating agreement with Tarahumara Pipeline with respect to the interconnection of the two pipelines.

The Border Crossing Facilities will interconnect with Roadrunner’s new intrastate pipeline under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission. The federal commission has consistently held that in these circumstances only border crossing facilities require Natural Gas Act Section 3 authorization.

Upstream of the Border Crossing Facilities in Texas, Roadrunner will construct, own, connect, operate and maintain a new non-jurisdictional intrastate pipeline that will consist of approximately 205 total miles of 30-inch-diameter pipeline (the “Upstream Facilities”). It is currently contemplated that the non-jurisdictional Upstream Facilities will include the construction of a new compressor station in Pecos County, Texas, plus meter stations, mainline valves, and pig launchers/receivers. The Upstream Facilities will interconnect with the Border Crossing Facilities, and could potentially also tie into other existing pipelines’ facilities for deliveries into Mexico or U.S. destinations if the Border Crossing Facilities were not available as planned.

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.