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Kinder Morgan pipeline construction to get underway

SOUTHWEST MISSISSIPPI — Plans to build a $220 million pipeline to transport gasoline and diesel from the Valero St. Charles Refinery in Norco, La., to a Mississippi pipeline hub are on track to begin this summer, company officials said.

The Times-Picayune reports Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, a Houston pipeline transportation and energy storage company, announced last September plans to build and operate the pipeline in a venture with Valero Energy Corp.

The proposed pipeline, which is still pending approval from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, would terminate in Walthall County, about 140 miles northeast of Norco.

The companies want to build a 16-inch pipeline to transport fuel to a hub in Collins, which Kinder Morgan operates.

From there, refined petroleum products would enter pipelines that serve major Southern markets.

The pipeline, expected to be in service by 2013, will have an initial capacity of 110,000 barrels per day, with the ability to expand to more than 200,000 barrels per day.

Construction costs are expected to reach $140 million in Louisiana and $80 million in Mississippi. Overall, the project is expected to generate 1,200 temporary jobs at its peak.

“When it’s all said and done, there’s quite a lot of economic activity going on over there,” said Corey Faucheux, director of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism for St. Charles Parish, where the Valero refinery is located.

Property owners along the proposed route will be paid for the construction and operations that take place on their land, and Kinder Morgan plans to notify affected property owners before conducting site surveys.

If an agreement between both sides cannot be reached, the company could seek an easement of the land using eminent domain. Some industry observers, like Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, don’t expect many property owners to balk.

“We’re pretty much crisscrossed with pipelines everywhere you want to look, and we’ve never really had any serious problems with them,” Smith said.

Since December, Kinder Morgan has operated a headquarters for its Parkway Pipeline project in Mandeville, La., staffed with about 25 people, said Allen Fore, director of public affairs for Kinder Morgan.

Fore does not expect setbacks on the state level.

“Louisiana is a state where Kinder Morgan has done a lot of business over the years, major pipelines in the last few years, and significant operations currently in the state,” Fore said. “We’re familiar with the state and the regulating agencies. It’s a very positive relationship with those folks. We’re not introducing ourselves. We’ve been here.”


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