Commissioners hope compressor pumps tax rolls

The construction of a pipeline across Moffat County could include a 20,000-horsepower compressor station.

But Entrega Gas Pipeline Inc. only will construct the compressor station if the volume of natural gas transported by the pipeline is large enough to require it, said Larry Drader, project manager.

Entrega then would build the compressor station, named Big Hole, about halfway between Meeker and Wamsutter, Wyo., Drader said. That likely would put the station near the state line and on Bureau of Land Management ground.

In the company's application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Entrega wrote that five compressor stations would be constructed along the pipeline. But the Moffat County commissioners only recently learned that one of those stations would be in Moffat County.

The commissioners said they would be supportive of a compressor station if one were built here.

"The good part is if they built one, it would be on our tax rolls," Commissioner Darryl Steele said.

But Steele and the other commissioners would like input on the location of the compression station.

The county already has some control.

If Entrega builds the station on anything smaller than a 35-acre parcel of land, the company will have to request a subdivision exemption.

Entrega also need a driveway permit to build a road off a county road.

But the commissioners want a seat at the table before the process reaches the county planning stage. They're concerned about the effect the station would have on the skyline, as well as the noise it might make.

Commissioner Les Hampton said he hoped Entrega would build a compression station similar to one he toured near Rifle. That station was built in a lowland area and operated quietly, he said.

When selecting the location for compression stations, Drader said Entrega first looks at what he calls the "ideal engineering point of view." This is the best site for the station's hydraulics in terms of maximizing pipeline capacity.

If this site has no environmental complications, the company goes with it, Drader said.

But if environmental complications exist, such as if it's too near a greater sage grouse lek, the company modifies the site accordingly.

Access is an issue as well. The station needs to be near a road that maintenance people can drive on during the entire year.

To mitigate the station's effect on its surroundings, Entrega paints it the came color as the area it's in.

The FERC will determine at what decibel level the station will operate, Drader said.

Companies shipping natural gas along the line will notify Entrega of their volume needs in advance, so the company will have at least 1 1/2 years to build the station before it becomes necessary.

The station would be no bigger than 20,000-horsepower, Drader said. He described it as a "medium" station.

Entrega, an affiliate of EnCana Oil and Gas plans to begin constructing the 327-mile natural gas pipeline in the fall of 2005. The 36-inch pipeline will extend from the Piceance Basin in Rio Blanco County north to Wamsutter.

A 42-inch pipeline would travel from Wamsutter east to Rockport, Wyo., where it will terminate.

For 93 percent of the route, it will follow existing pipeline corridors.

Entrega intends to request approval to begin construction in the spring of 2005.

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