Construction of the 185-mile pipeline that will stretch from Conway County to near Batesville, Miss. will be completed in October and fully operational by early 2011, but the long-term impact from the natural gas service will continue well into the next century, says Allen Fore, communications director for Fayetteville Express Pipeline.

 

Construction of the 185-mile pipeline that will stretch from Conway County to near Batesville, Miss. will be completed in October and fully operational by early 2011, but the long-term impact from the natural gas service will continue well into the next century, says Allen Fore, communications director for Fayetteville Express Pipeline.
 Addressing a combined luncheon of Helena-West Helena Rotary and Kiwanis members Wednesday, Fore touched on the economic impact of the pipeline that will serve residents in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast.
“The Fayetteville Express Pipeline (FEP) will benefit communities along the pipeline route over the long and short term,” Fore said. “It will provide natural gas to four million homes.”
 Noting that FEP is a totally private investment, Fore said the nation’s demand for natural gas would increase more than 20 percent by 2025.
 “Additional pipeline capacity is needed to deliver natural gas to customers to help keep prices lower,” Fore said.
Alluding to the eruption of the British Petroleum drilling operation in the Gulf Coast, Fore said that along with hurricanes show the importance of enhancing the nation’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure to meet energy demands.
 Outlining the various sources of energy Americans rely upon, Fore said oil represents 40 percent of the demand which is “mostly foreign” while natural gas accounts for 25 percent of the energy sources. Coal is a close third at 24 percent.
Fore said the FEP has created 2,000 jobs that should peak out at 2,400 with Arkansans accounting for about half that number.
 “Arkansas is a big pipeline state,” Fore said.
  Fore noted that Phillips County has benefitted in several ways from the number of pipeline workers staying locally in the short run.
    “They are living here, dining out and spending money in other ways,” Fore said.
 Fore said the pipeline jobs are generating about $52 million in wages. FEP data indicates that during the payroll during the construction period should generate nearly $6.3 million in Phillips County. The construction payroll in Lee County should be about $8.2 million and $3 million in St. Francis County.
 Fore said the pipeline should generate $7.5 million in property taxes in Arkansas during the first year of operation.
  A breakdown in the estimated property tax returns indicates $731,769 for Phillips County, $958,877 for Lee County, and $357,473 for St. Francis County.
  Fore said FEP went through a tedious process to get to this stage of the development of the pipeline.
   “We initiated the regulatory review process in November 2008,” Fore said. FEP received its certification on Dec. 17, 2009 that gave the go-ahead to commence construction of the pipeline in Conway County.
    Fore said FEP had to deal with several government entities such as the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Natural Resource Commission, the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission and levee districts. 
   “The environmental issues have been paramount,” Fore said.
  Pipeline crews have utilized horizontal drilling to lay the 42-inch diameter pipe.
   During a Q&A period, Fore noted that crews had to go “over the top” of the levees on both the Arkansas and Mississippi sides. Crews have been digging out the land on either side of Mississippi Highway 1 just east of the Mississippi Bridge. The pipeline will stretch through Coahoma, Quitman and Panola counties in Mississippi.
   Fore said the initial major compressor is located at Bald Knob with the possibility of other compressors along the pipeline corridor in the future.
    “There will be an interconnection with Trunkline Gas Company in Panola County, Miss.,” Fore said.
    Fore said once the pipeline has been laid in a given location crews restore the land as closely as possible to pre-construction conditions.