Pipeline proposal: Gas line could help industry

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NATCHEZ — Area economic development officials are asking local industry to participate in an energy company’s open season in the hope of bringing a new high-pressure gas pipeline to the area.

American Midstream Partners has proposed the reconstruction of its American Midstream Midla mainline pipeline in Louisiana and Mississippi, and is asking prospective shippers to subscribe to one or more of the proposed reconstructions of the pipeline during an open season that will end this month.

The open season is to gauge customer interest in replacing the line.

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One of the options presented in the open season include a Natchez line, in which the pipeline would be rebuilt from Winnsboro to Natchez and mainline facilities to the north of Winnsboro to Monroe and from Natchez to Zachary would be retired.

The second option is for a Natchez-Plus line, which would include the upsizing of the Natchez line to foster industrial development.

The third option would be to replicate the line along the existing right-of-way and pressure capacity the company currently has.

The line currently runs from Monroe to Baton Rouge. If the company receives sufficient interest in the reconstruction, Midla will start the necessary regulatory processes to allow reconstruction in late spring or early summer 2014. Natchez Inc. has been working with American Midstream for several months on the matter and is encouraging the industrial community to participate in the open season, Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said.

“The high pressure option for us — as long as it has some future capacity in it — is something that would be extremely advantageous for the area,” he said. “You would have a high pressure line, meaning you can deliver gas at a higher pressure to industrial customers, as well as it being a new modern delivery system.

“It is something on the radar screen in a significant manner to make sure Natchez and our industrial customers end up with the best and most robust gas delivery system as is economically feasible.”

Existing businesses in the Natchez-Adams County Port like von Drehle and Elevance, as well as KiOR — which has committed to building an alternative fuels plant in the port — and Emberclear, which is studying the port for a natural gas-to-liquids project, are all significant gas customers, Russ said.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said the city has been actively working with the open season, and he has a meeting Thursday to discuss the open season and other gas-related issues.

“It would be a tremendous asset, a tremendous factor in recruiting new industries to be able to service those major (gas) loads,” he said.

“It would be an asset to everything we are working on, the port, development as far as the industrial parks are concerned, to be able to let those industries know we can service them with both electrical and gas.”

The open season began Nov. 27 and will close Dec. 27. The Midla Pipeline was built in 1926, and the company said if reconstruction starts it will try to minimize environmental and other impacts by building as much as possible along the existing pipeline corridor.