Entrega to finish work on pipeline next month

Brandon Johnson

Construction crews should complete work early next month on one of the two natural gas pipelines under construction in Moffat County, a pipeline official said Wednesday.

Work on the 136-mile stretch of pipe from Meeker to Wamsutter, Wyo., should be completed between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15, said Denny Needham, an Entrega Gas Pipeline spokesman.

Natural gas should be flowing through the 36-inch pipe by the end of January or early February, Needham said.

There are a few sections left to complete before crews begin pressure testing the pipe, Needham said.

Pressure tests are meant to ensure the pipe doesn’t leak gas, Needham said.

Crews began work on the Entrega pipeline in October.

Past delays

The segment of pipe from the Meeker Hub in Rio Blanco County to Wyoming is the first stretch of what will be a 328-mile pipeline. When complete, the line will run from the Meeker Hub to the Cheyenne Hub in Weld County.

Work on the stretch from Wamsutter to the Cheyenne Hub is expected to begin in June or July, Needham said.

Gas could flow through the 328-mile pipeline by November or December of 2006, Needham said.

Entrega had planned to start work on the segment from Rio Blanco County to Wyoming last summer.

But the Denver-based company was delayed during the federal permitting process after questions arose about the project’s potential effects on archaeological sites. The company made some concessions, and the issue was resolved.

The late start meant crews had to work during the winter, something the company had hoped to avoid.

But the weather hasn’t caused many delays, Needham said.

“We’re very pleased with the way it’s gone, considering the weather,” Needham said.

Bump in the road

In November, work was stalled when part of a pipe broke and became lodged in the ground near the Yampa River.

Entrega brought in a machine called a “bumper” to dislodge the pipe, Needham said.

It took a few weeks of bumping before the pipe was extracted and the segment near the river was complete.

El Paso Gas also is building a pipeline from Meeker to Wyoming.

Construction on the Houston-based company’s pipe should be complete in late February, said Joe Hollier, an El Paso spokesman.

Construction of El Paso’s pipeline also got off to a late start because of federal concerns about archaeological sites.

Industry observers expect natural gas exploration in the region to increase when both projects are complete. The pipelines will make it easier to get gas to markets in eastern states, Needham said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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