FERC rejects rehearing request for Texas-Mexico gas pipeline project

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 19 rejected a rehearing request from an affected ranching company of its May 14 decision approving a gas pipeline project into Mexico that will supply gas to a new power plant in Mexico.

On June 15, Needmore Dolores LLC filed a timely request for rehearing of the commission’s May 14 order granting Impulsora Pipeline LLC’s request for authorization under the Natural Gas Act and a Presidential Permit to site, construct, and operate border-crossing facilities for the purpose of exporting natural gas to Mexico.

The border-crossing facilities would be at the international boundary between the United States in Webb County, Texas, and Mexico in the vicinity of Colombia, State of Nuevo Leon. The May 14 order authorized Impulsora to construct 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 proposed 36-inch-diameter pipeline. The border crossing facilities will have a design capacity of approximately 1,120 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day and a maximum allowable operating pressure of 1,440 pounds per square inch gauge.

Impulsora’s proposed border-crossing facilities will receive gas from Texas Pipeline Webb County Lean System LLC’s (TP Lean) contemplated Eagle Ford Gathering (EFG) Extension. When constructed, the EFG Extension will consist of approximately 6.2 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline, extending in a southerly direction from TP Lean’s existing facilities in Webb County, Texas, to the proposed border-crossing facilities. The EFG Extension is expected to initially transport Texas-sourced gas received from TP Lean’s intrastate system.

In Mexico, the gas will be delivered to a short pipeline to be constructed on behalf of Impulsora LT S.A.P.I. de C.V. That pipeline will, in turn, deliver the gas into a pipeline system owned by Con-Gas S.A.P.I. de C.V., which will transport the gas to a power plant to be constructed near Colombia, State of Nuevo Leon.

Needmore, the owner of a 14,000-acre ranch and the only landowner impacted by Impulsora’s proposals, protested the project, urging the commission to deny the requested authorization because Impulsora and TP Lean had not yet acquired the property rights from Needmore necessary to construct the border-crossing facilities and EFG Extension on Needmore’s property. Needmore also claimed that the Environmental Assessment (EA) failed to adequately describe the facilities to be constructed on its property and their permanent impacts including Impulsora’s future plans for abandonment of the project; the project’s potential impact on deer hunting, livestock operations, and birdwatching; and the cumulative impacts of the non-jurisdictional EFG Extension proposed by TP Lean that would be located on Needmore’s property. The May 14 order dismissed the property rights concerns and environmental issues raised by Needmore.

In again rejecting the complaint, FERC’s Nov. 19 order said in part: “Needmore’s assertion that the mitigation measures included in the EA are merely a ‘perfunctory listing,’ instead of specific measures tailored to the project’s particular impacts, is without merit.”

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.