FERC issues enviro review on Comanche Trail gas export project into Mexico

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the San Elizario Crossing Project proposed by Comanche Trail Pipeline LLC and located in El Paso County, Texas.

The project would involve construction of approximately 1,800 feet of FERC-jurisdictional 42-inch-diameter pipeline, installed beneath the Rio Grande River near the City of San Isidro, State of Chihuahua. The new pipeline would transport natural gas to a new delivery interconnect with pipeline facilities owned by an affiliate of Comanche Trail at the United States-Mexico border to meet expanding electric generation and industrial market gas demand in Mexico.

FERC on Jan. 4 put the draft EA up for public comment until Feb. 3.

On May 29, 2015, Comanche Trail Pipeline filed an application for an order authorizing construction of new border crossing natural gas pipeline facilities, and for the issuance of a Presidential Permit for those facilities. The proposed facilities would export up to 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas at the International Boundary between the United States and Mexico. Comanche Trail proposes to construct its new international border crossing in El Paso County, Texas. The new pipeline would transport natural gas to a new delivery interconnect in the vicinity of the city of San Isidro, in the state of Chihuahua. 

Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act also requires prior approval from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the import or export of natural gas from or to a foreign country. On May 7, 2015 DOE found that San Elizario Project Crossing meets the Section 3(c) criterion and authorized Comanche Trail to import and export natural gas from and to Mexico up to a combined total of 450 billion cubic feet for a two-year period effective beginning on June 11, 2015, and extending through June 10, 2017.

The project would interconnect with Comanche Trail’s new intrastate pipeline facilities, which includes 195 miles of 42-inch-diameter pipeline, metering stations, and other auxiliary facilities from a hub in Pecos County, Texas. These intrastate pipeline facilities would be subject to the jurisdiction of the Railroad Commission of Texas and would be non-jurisdictional to the FERC.

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.