Although Elbert County hasn’t worked the bugs out of its oil and gas documents yet, that didn’t stop the Board of County Commissioners from approving a new natural gas pipeline that will cut through the county, starting this month.
In a July 24 unanimous decision, the BOCC approved a special use permit for Houston-based Front Range Pipeline LLC to construct and install a 16-inch-diameter steel pipeline that will carry liquid natural gas from Greeley to Skellytown, Texas, northeast of Amarillo.
The decision is also expected to carry a sizable amount of cash back to the county coffers.
According to the application, anticipated first-year revenues from the pipeline, payable to the county, will be somewhere near $126,000.
Approximately $74,000 would go to the general fund, $47,000 would go into roads and bridges, and the remaining portion will bolster social services and county retirement funds.
The pipeline will enter the county near the northwest corner and travel in a southeast pattern for 36 miles, exiting into El Paso County.
The pipeline would then again clip the southwest corner of Elbert County before entering Lincoln County.
“Construction is expected to be completed within six months,” said Carolyn Parkinson of Community Devolvement Services. “But if what they are doing in El Paso County is any indication, it will be much quicker. They are moving at about two miles per day.”
The total project includes the pipeline as well as two mainline valves that will be located at or near the intersections of County Roads 194 and 29, and County Roads 94 and 77.
A pumping station will be built two miles north of Kiowa on Kiowa Bennett Road.
According to Parkinson, the applicant has acquired all necessary easements, primarily from private property owners.
Most of the property identified is zoned for agriculture.
Water for the project — about 4.8 million gallons of it — will be provided through a combination of efforts.
“Water for dust mitigation will be provided by the Town of Kiowa,” Parkinson explained. “And water for the hydrostatic testing will come from a private source in El Paso County.”
Hydrostatic testing involves filling the pipe system with water to inspect for leaks, as well as to certify the vessel for certain pressure ratings.
Known as the Front Range Pipeline, the project connects to the larger Texas Express, a 20-inch-diameter mainline that spans the Lone Star State for 580 miles, from Skellytown to Mont Belvieu, Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico.
Where possible, the pipeline will run parallel to existing utility easements.
About the pipeline
Front Range Pipeline LLC
1100 Louisiana St., Suite 1000
Houston, TX 77002
Contents: Liquid natural gas
Diameter: 16 inches
Length: Total length is 395 miles. Runs from Greeley to Skellytown, Texas. Approximately 36 miles within Elbert County.
Main valves: Two mainline valves will be located at or near the intersections of County Roads 194 and 29, and County Roads 94 and 77.
Pump station: One pump station will be located two miles north of Kiowa on Kiowa Bennett Road.
Geography: Will cross primarily agriculturally zoned property.
Depth: Buried a minimum of 48 inches below surface, 60 inches below bottom of roadside ditches on public right of way.
Work hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Work will be conducted only during daylight hours.
Source: Elbert County