County pushes for Maybell tap

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Maybell area residents would best be advised to keep their propane tanks full.

The two companies constructing natural gas pipelines across Moffat County, crossing north-south just east of Maybell, have indicated to the commissioners that the projects won't include a tap near Maybell to distribute natural gas in that area.

The commissioners had asked Entrega Gas Pipeline and Colorado Interstate Gas if they would install a tap near Maybell so the gas they pump from the Piceance Basin could be distributed in Maybell.

Entrega indicated that its parent company, EnCana Oil and Gas, would have to make a decision about installing a tap. EnCana representatives estimated the cost of installing a tap could climb to $2 to $3 million dollars, said Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos.

But the CIG representatives with whom Commissioner Darryl Steele spoke estimated a lower cost of $75,000.

"Will they expend that amount on a good neighbor policy? Probably not," Steele said.

But the commissioners plan to continue pushing for a tap.

Neither company would distribute the gas if a tap were installed. Atmos Energy, which provides natural gas to residents and businesses in the Craig area, likely would be the distributor. The commissioners are looking to get Atmos on board.

"If you have the end portion of that, they (the pipeline companies) might reconsider," Raftopoulos said.

Steele has had conversations on the subject with local Atmos representatives, and they expressed interest in the project, he said. But none of them were in a position to make the decision to move forward.

Should the Maybell area's population increase, it might become economically feasible to distribute gas there. In that case, it would be economically wise to have the infrastructure already in place, Commissioner Les Hampton said.

Entrega plans to request approval to begin construction on the 36-inch pipeline next spring. The pipeline should commence service by fall of 2005.

Colorado Interstate Gas, an El Paso Pipeline Group company, plans to request approval for its 24-inch pipeline by August.

The company hopes construction will be complete by the end of 2005.

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