Spire Storage W., CP21-6-000

CourtFederal Energy Regulatory Commission
Writing for the CourtDebbie-Anne A. Reese, Deputy Secretary.
Citation179 FERC ¶ 61, 123
PartiesSpire Storage West LLC
Docket NumberCP21-6-000
Decision Date19 May 2022

179 FERC ¶ 61, 123

Spire Storage West LLC

No. CP21-6-000

United States of America, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

May 19, 2022


Before Commissioners: Richard Glick, Chairman; James P. Danly, Allison Clements, Mark C. Christie, and Willie L. Phillips.

ORDER ISSUING CERTIFICATE AND APPROVING ABANDONMENT

Debbie-Anne A. Reese, Deputy Secretary.

1. On October 9, 2020, Spire Storage West LLC (Spire Storage) filed an application pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA)[1] and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations[2] requesting authorization to amend the certificate of public convenience and necessity issued in Docket No. CP98-256-000 (1998 Certificate Order)[3]authorizing the Clear Creek Storage Field in Uinta County, Wyoming. Spire Storage proposes to expand its natural gas storage facilities at the Clear Creek Storage Field (Clear Creek Expansion Project) and requests reaffirmation of its market-based rate authority and related waivers.[4] For the reasons discussed below, we grant the requested authorizations and waivers, subject to conditions.

1. Background and Proposal

2. Spire Storage, a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in Texas, is an indirect subsidiary of Spire Inc., a public utility holding company based in St. Louis, Missouri.[5] Spire Storage is a natural gas company as defined by

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section 2(6) of the NGA[6] that owns and operates two depleted reservoir natural gas storage facilities: the Belle Butte Storage Facility (comprising the Belle Butte Storage Field, the Belle Butte Plant, and the Canyon Creek Plant) and the Clear Creek Storage Facility (comprising the Clear Creek Storage Field and the Clear Creek Plant), both located in Uinta County, Wyoming.[7] Spire Storage provides natural gas storage services in interstate commerce at market-based rates pursuant to its FERC Gas Tariff.[8]

3. The 1998 Certificate Order authorized the conversion of a depleted natural gas production reservoir (the Nugget formation) to a natural gas storage facility and the construction of appurtenant facilities.[9] Specifically, the order certificated 4.0 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of working gas capacity, a maximum injection capability of 35 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/day), and a maximum withdrawal capability of 50 MMcf/day.[10] The order also authorized the construction and installation of the Clear

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Creek Plant, which currently includes two natural gas-fired compressors totaling 3, 740 horsepower (hp), as well as auxiliary facilities.[11]

4. Spire Storage proposes to expand its natural gas storage facilities with the construction, installation, and replacement of certain facilities and equipment in order to increase its existing working and base gas capacities, as well as the injection and withd rawal capabilities, of the Clear Creek Storage Field, [12] as listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Increased Capacities at Clear Creek Storage Field

Existing Certificated Level

Proposed Certificated Level

Clear Creek Storage Field

Working Gas

4.0 Bcf

20.0 Bcf

Base Gas

4.0 Bcf

20.0 Bcf

Reservoir Total

8.0 Bcf

40.0 Bcf

Maximum Injection Rate

35 MMcf/day

350 MMcf/day

Maximum Withdrawal Rate

50 MMcf/day

500 MMcf/day

5. Spire Storage asserts that the proposed increases in storage capacity and injection/withdrawal rates are designed to meet the demand for gas storage from Spire Storage's existing customers and the market. Spire Storage states that it held a non-binding open season from August 5 through September 4, 2020, during which 15 participants expressed interest in a total of 24 Bcf of storage capacity from the project.[13] Spire Storage states that, in addition to continued demand for natural gas for industrial and retail consumption, it anticipates that there will be demand for additional natural gas storage to provide the necessary baseload reliability to the electric grid as the Western energy markets shift toward renewable energy resources.

A. Proposed Facilities

6. In order to effectuate the proposed increases in service capability, Spire Storage proposes, as described more specifically below, to drill and operate new wells at the Clear Creek Storage Field, install new facilities at the Clear Creek Plant, and construct new pipeline facilities to provide interstate interconnections. The Clear Creek Expansion Project would be located on federal land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land

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Management's (BLM) Kemmerer Field Office, Wyoming state land managed by the Office of State Lands and Investments, and privately-owned land. Spire Storage states that it has been in communication with all federal, state, and private landowners that are adjacent to or directly impacted by the project, [14] and negotiations are currently underway to secure right-of-way easements and other required authorizations on properties to be crossed or used by the project.[15]

Clear Creek Storage Field

7. Spire Storage proposes to drill and operate 11 new injection/withdrawal wells and one water disposal well on existing well pads in the Clear Creek Storage Field, and to construct associated field pipelines.[16] Spire Storage also requests authorization to establish a one-quarter-mile subsurface buffer zone around the Clear Creek Storage Field reservoir in order to ensure the integrity and safety of the proposed expanded storage field . [17]

Clear Creek Plant

8. At the Clear Creek Plant, Spire Storage proposes to install four new Ariel KBZ/6 natural gas-fired compressor units (5, 150 hp per unit), each with a Caterpillar 3616 natural gas engine, increasing total horsepower from 3, 740 hp to 24, 340 hp;[18] and to relocate, construct, and install auxiliary equipment to support operations at the Clear Creek Plant. Spire Storage states that the four new compressor units will increase operational flexibility and reliability and provide additional horsepower for the proposed increases in injection and withdrawal capabilities. It asserts that the two existing, aging compressor units require substantial downtime to complete necessary maintenance and repairs, and, because there is a lack of backup compression facilities, it is unable to

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operate at or near its existing certificated levels when both units are offline. Spire Storage states that the auxiliary equipment to be installed at the Clear Creek Plant will include: "supply oil storage and delivery facilities, additional gas treating and pressure regulation facilities, one new water boiler, two new air compressors, two new air dryers, one new natural gas-fired generator to replace the existing diesel generator, and electrical distribution components."[19]

9. Spire Storage also proposes to relocate, replace, and install existing and new tanks and associated truck refueling facilities from the Clear Creek Plant to a nearby tank pad located adjacent to well pad 23-9B, approximately 0.2 miles west of the Clear Creek Plant.[20] It proposes to relocate and replace an existing 50, 000-gallon aboveground natural gas liquids (NGL) tank and metering skid, two existing 400-barrel aboveground condensate tanks, and two existing aboveground fuel tanks related to truck refueling, in order to provide room for the new compressor units and other proposed facilities at the Clear Creek Plant and to minimize safety concerns associated with these tanks. Spire Storage will also install one additional aboveground 60, 000-gallon NGL tank and two 400-barrel condensate tanks to accommodate the additional withdrawal capacity at the Clear Creek Plant. It seeks authorization to construct a new, 0.36-mile road along the south side of the Clear Creek Plant and a new entrance on the east side of the Clear Creek Plant, in order to provide safer access to the Clear Creek Plant.[21]

10. Because of the construction and installation of the facilities listed above, Spire Storage also seeks authorization to decommission and dispose of the replaced facilities and equipment.[22] Specifically, Spire Storage requests to decommission and

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dispose: two gasoline and diesel aboveground fuel supply tanks and associated containment, one diesel generator and 15-gallon diesel tank, four buildings, and two air compressors units at the Clear Creek Plant; 1.12 miles of aboveground 6-inch steel gathering header located northeast of the Clear Creek Plant; and one 210-barrel emergency blowdown tank located southeast of well pad 35-4B.[23]

Sagebrush Pipeline

11. Spire Storage requests authorization to construct the new Sagebrush Pipeline, which includes two pipeline segments (Sagebrush North and South) totaling approximately 10.6 miles, as well as related interconnections and associated facilities.[24]Spire Storage explains that currently its storage facilities are connected to five interstate pipelines (Kern River Gas Transmission, Overthrust Pipeline, Questar Pipeline, Ruby Pipeline, and Northwest Pipeline), and the proposed pipeline will facilitate the flow of gas to these five interstate pipelines. The Sagebrush Pipeline North, approximately 7.0 miles of 20-inch-diameter pipeline, will connect the Clear Creek Plant to the Canyon Creek Plant, where Spire Storage interconnects with four of the five interstate pipelines listed above. The Sagebrush Pipeline South, approximately 3.6 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline, will connect the Clear Creek Plant to a new interconnection with Kern River Gas Transmission.[25] Spire Storage states that the proposed Kern River Interconnect will include a metering station, pressure control, and a pig launcher/receiver. Power for the metering station will be provided to the proposed interconnect through a new 3.5-mile, 4, 160-volt powerline, which will be constructed by Spire Storage from Kern River Gas Transmission's...

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