Gas pipeline to cross through eastern Huerfano

by Brian Orr

HUERFANO- Colorado Interstate Gas Company is planning to build a natural gas pipeline across the eastern edge of Huerfano County in 2009 and 2010.

    CIG, a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation, is seeking permits and right-of-ways for the project, which will expand the amount of natural gas it can ship out of the Raton Basin.  Currently, 400 million cubic feet of natural gas is moved per day.  The new 16-inch pipeline will increase the field’s capacity by an additional 130 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.  The new line will tie-in to an existing line at a junction east of Pueblo and continue up the Front Range to it’s Cheyenne hub.  From there, the natural gas can be shipped east or west, north or south.

    The proposed new pipeline will be 118 miles long, with a 16-inch steel pipeline being buried 30 to 60 inches below the surface, depending on soil conditions and what might be happening on the ground above. whether it be farming, cattle grazing or dipping under a road.

    The project is slated to begin in November 2009 and will take approximately a year to complete.  It will begin in the natural gas fields of Las Animas County, west of Trinidad, run northeast up Huerfano County, then due north up through Pueblo and El Paso Counties.  The primary user of the new line would be Pioneer, which is one of the main drillers in Las Animas County.

    Up to 85 Huerfano landowners are being contacted by Colorado Interstate to negotiate a right of way through their property, for a perpetual lease.  Not all of these property owners will have the pipeline run through, but CIG is hedging its bets.  The typical easement CIG will want is a 50 foot corridor (25 feet on either side of the pipe) though they will initially need more space when they bury it.

    CIG will contract out the work to a company, who may in turn sub-contract out certain aspects of the job to local workers.  If nothing else, the construction crew laying the pipeline will be using the area hotels, restaurants and bars while they are in the region, so there should be a economic influx felt from that alone.