North Baja Pipeline LLC (North Baja) is seeking US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorization to construct and maintain its North Baja XPress Project (NBX project). The project consists of installation of a new 31,900 hp (23,797 kW) Solar Titan 250 compressor unit at its existing Ehrenberg Compressor Station in La Paz County, Arizona, USA, and modifications to the infrastructure at North Baja’s existing El Paso meter station in La Paz County, Arizona, and Ogilby meter station in Imperial County, California, USA. Upon completion the proposed project will create approximately 495,000 dekatherms per day of incremental firm delivery to the United States/Mexico border. North Baja estimates the total cost of the project to be US$127.2 million.
North Baja’s interstate pipeline system connects to the IEnova’s GR Pipeline, formally Gasoducto Bajanorte (GB) Pipeline, to serve demand of Baja California, Mexico, and Imperial and San Diego counties in California. North Baja’s existing system extends approximately 86 miles (138 km) from an interconnection with the facilities of El Paso Natural Gas Company near Ehrenberg, Arizona, through southeast California to a point on the international border between Yuma, Arizona, and Mexicali, North Baja Mexico, where the pipeline interconnects with GR. The North Baja system and the GB pipeline were built in 2002 to supply natural gas from the US, primarily to serve gas-fired electric generation facilities in Baja California, Mexico.
In 2008, IEnova’s Energia Costa Azul (ECA) regasification terminal in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, opened and utilized the existing North Baja/GB infrastructure to deliver substantial quantities of gas to markets in California and Arizona. North Baja subsequently modified its system’s existing Ehrenberg Compressor Station and Ogilby Meter Station to allow for gas flow in the opposite direction (south-to-north) from the original configuration. In light of growing US production of natural gas from domestic shale plays, the demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) imports has greatly decreased to the point where it no longer plays a significant role in the nation’s gas supply portfolio.
The North Baja system has the ability to flow in both north-to-south and south-to-north directions, but the predominate direction of flow, due to increasing domestic natural gas production, is north-to-south. The growing worldwide demand for LNG, with increasing natural gas production growth, is occurring in two of North America’s most prolific supply basins, the Permian and San Juan basins.
The NBX project was initiated in response to market demand to provide firm transportation service from the existing El Paso meter station in Ehrenberg, Arizona, to the Ogilby meter station near Ogilby, California, to the custody transfer point on the international border where the North Baja system interconnects with IEnova’s GR Pipeline located near Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico.
The upgrades and modifications being requested in this application will create capacity to provide transportation of feed gas for Sempra LNG and IEnova’s proposed Energia Costa Azul LNG export plant located at its existing ECA terminal in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, and further will provide the transportation of natural gas supply to meet growing market demand.