Natural gas pipeline planned east of Calhan, CO

A planned 435-mile pipeline that will carry natural gas liquids from northern Colorado to Texas will cut through eastern El Paso County.

Construction of the pipeline, which will cross underneath Highway 24 about five miles east of Calhan, is expected to begin in the second quarter of next year and be completed by the end of 2013. The gas line will originate near Greeley and end close to Skellytown, Texas, near Amarillo. From there, the various natural gas liquids will be separated and used to supply homes and businesses with propane and other products, or sent overseas.

Natural gas liquids are byproducts of natural gas when split into separate products.

Byproducts include ethane, butane propane and natural gasoline, said Rick Rainey, vice president of public relations for Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners. He said a large portion of the natural gas liquids transported through the pipeline will come from around Denver International Airport.

The pipeline is being constructed by Front Range Pipeline, a company owned by Enterprise Products, Anadarko Petroleum and DCP Midstream. Each owns a third of the pipeline, Rainey said.

The pipeline will run through right-of-ways purchased from private landowners or the federal Bureau of Land Management, Rainey said. The company has contacted all of the affected property owners from Colorado to Texas and has contracted with about two-thirds of them, he said. Rainey did not know how many Colorado property owners had signed contracts.

Building the pipeline could create more than 2,000 jobs from Colorado to Texas during the construction period, Rainey said. He did not know how many of those jobs would be in the Colorado Springs area because Front Range has not completed contracting with construction companies.

The pipeline’s construction also will add dollars to the local economy through the contracting of local suppliers, hotels, restaurant, vehicle repairs and fuel purchases, Rainey said. Once the pipeline is finished, Front Range must pay property taxes to El Paso and other counties.

The 12-to-16-inch pipeline is expected to transport 150,000 barrels of natural gas liquids a day initially  and can be expanded to 230,000 barrels per day. Some of the liquids could be shipped overseas after reaching Texas.

“The U.S. is a global competitor in the propane market,” Rainey said, “and the supplies for propane exist in good portions in Colorado, so there is that need to get it to the Gulf Coast.”

Front Range hopes to build the majority of the pipeline, which will be buried, parallel to existing transportation routes and not in “undisturbed areas of wilderness,” Rainey said. He declined to state the project’s cost.

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