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FAQs

Questions and Answers concerning our proposed pipeline project.

Questions Addressed Here Include:

Pipelines and This Project:

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Safety:

Protecting Significant Cultural Sites and Environmentally Sensitive Areas:

Property Owner Interests:

Communication and More Information:


Pipelines and This Project:

Who is Ruby Pipeline, LLC?

Ruby Pipeline, LLC is owned by El Paso Ruby Holding Company, L.L.C. an affiliate of El Paso Corporation.

Who is El Paso Corporation?

El Paso Corporation provides natural gas and related energy products in a safe, efficient, and dependable manner. The company owns North America’s largest gas pipeline system and one of North America’s largest independent natural gas producers. El Paso’s regulated business segment consists of an interstate transmission system that spans the nation, border to border and coast to coast. The company’s Southern Pipelines consist of Southern Natural Gas, a 50-percent ownership interest in Florida Gas Transmission (Citrus Corp.), and a liquefied natural gas terminal located on Elba Island, Georgia. El Paso’s Western Pipelines include El Paso Natural Gas, Colorado Interstate Gas, Wyoming Interstate Company, and Mojave Pipeline. The company’s Eastern Pipelines include Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a 50-percent ownership interest in Great Lakes Gas Transmission, and joint ventures in Mexico. El Paso’s non-regulated business consists of oil and gas production in the United States, as well as in Brazil and Egypt.

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What is the Ruby Pipeline Project?

As proposed, the project involves approximately 675 miles of 42-inch natural gas transmission pipeline beginning at the Opal Hub in Wyoming and terminating at a Malin, Oregon interconnect, near California's northern border. The Ruby pipeline will have an initial design capacity of up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day, depending on the final level of customer commitments. As proposed, the pipeline rights of way will cross a portion of four states: Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon. Four compressor stations are currently proposed for the project: one near the Opal Hub in southwestern Wyoming; one south of Curlew Junction, Utah; one at the midpoint of the project, north of Elko, Nevada; and one in northwestern Nevada.

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What is the purpose of the Ruby Pipeline Project?

To address our nation’s growing demand for natural gas and associated transportation infrastructure, Ruby Pipeline, LLC is proposing the construction of the Ruby Pipeline. The Ruby Pipeline is a win-win project for natural gas consumers and producers. The project represents an approximate $3 billion dollar investment in new pipeline infrastructure that will connect clean-burning and competitively priced natural gas reserves in the Rocky Mountain region with growing markets in the western United States.

What is the proposed route of the pipeline?

As now proposed, the Ruby Pipeline route would begin at an interconnect with existing pipelines located near the town of Opal, Wyoming. The route would traverse south and west in Wyoming before entering Utah, passing near the town of Woodruff. The route would cross through a portion of the Cache National Forest, passing near the city of Avon, before crossing the Wasatch Front at Brigham City, Utah. From there, it would pass near Bear River City and Thatcher and then traverse north of the Great Salt Lake before entering Nevada. The route would continue westerly across northern Nevada, staying south of the Humboldt National Forest and north of the towns of Wells, Elko, and Winnemucca. The route, as proposed, would pass north of the Black Rock Wilderness and south of the Sheldon National Refuge before heading northwesterly into Oregon near the California/Nevada border. The route would then continue in a westerly direction, crossing the Fremont National Forest and passing on the north side of Goose Lake, below the town of Lakeview, and crossing Bryant Mountain before ending east of Malin. A short lateral going south to the California border will be constructed from the terminus measurement station near Malin, Oregon.

Why was this proposed route chosen?

The chosen route is one of several route alternatives that were initially studied. Route alternatives, including routes through southern Idaho, will be addressed in the environmental impact statement for the project. Ruby Pipeline, LLC has selected the current route as the preferred route because it is the most viable route that meets the market requirements and avoids the most critical environmental issues. The route was selected based on terrain and constructability requirements and wherever feasible, follows existing disturbances to minimize impacts to environmentally sensitive areas.

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What will be the source of the natural gas?

The source of the natural gas transported in the Ruby Pipeline will be the Rocky Mountain production region, one of the largest sources of potential new gas supplies in the United States. Specifically, these gas supplies will originate from increased production currently under development in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. To some extent, they will replace declining, imported supplies from Canada.

Who are the end users of the delivered natural gas?

Delivery interconnects are anticipated with Paiute Pipeline, Tuscarora Gas Transmission, Gas Transmission Northwest and Pacific Gas & Electric. These pipelines in turn will transport the gas on to local utilities which provide service to end users in Nevada, California, and Oregon. Among these end users are individual homes, small and large businesses, and electric generating plants. In fact, a large portion of Ruby’s capacity will be used to supply fuel to natural gas power plants which provide clean, economical electricity.

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What is a natural gas pipeline and how does it work?

Natural gas pipelines safely transport large volumes of natural gas over long distances. They are specially designed and carefully constructed. Today in the United States, there are more than 300,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines in operation. Natural gas is put into the pipeline at several locations: at the wellhead; at processing plants, that are located near the gas fields after processing to remove liquids; and at interconnections with other pipelines. Pipelines are located underground and transport the natural gas with the aid of compression to customers in the pipeline's market area. (Compression refers to facilities that help gas move in the pipeline by keeping it under pressure.) These customers include local distribution companies, which resell the gas to residential and business customers; electric utilities that use the natural gas to generate electricity; and large industrial customers.

Will individual homeowners be able to receive service directly from the new pipeline?

No. Ruby Pipeline will be an interstate transporter and will be able to provide direct service only to regulated utilities known as local distribution companies (LDCs), industrial end users, or other regulated interstate and intrastate facilities.

Who will regulate the new pipeline?

Ruby Pipeline, LLC, as a federally regulated interstate natural gas transmission entity, must obtain permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, D.C., to build and operate the new pipeline. Beginning in 2008, the FERC and cooperating agencies began a review of Ruby Pipeline’s application for compliance with all state and federal environmental laws. On April 5, 2010, the FERC granted Ruby a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. Additional regulatory approvals are pending from various agencies. The safety aspects of the pipeline will be regulated by Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and Federal Department of Transportation (DOT).

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When will FERC complete its review and allow Ruby Pipeline to build the new pipeline?

In January 2009, Ruby Pipeline submitted a certificate application with the FERC, seeking permission to construct and operate the pipeline. Construction of the pipeline is anticipated to begin in late spring 2010, and the pipeline is scheduled to be in service by March 2011.

Will the new pipeline transport LNG, gasoline, or liquid petroleum products?

No. The Ruby Pipeline is designed to transport natural gas.

What is liquefied natural gas, or LNG?

Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, is natural gas that has been cooled to –260 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooled to this temperature, 600 cubic feet of natural gas can be stored in an area of approximately one cubic foot. This is done to maximize storage capacity for natural gas on transport ships and at receiving and storage terminals.

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Safety:

Are natural gas pipelines safe?

Natural gas pipelines are a very safe, reliable, and efficient means of transporting natural gas. Ruby Pipeline, LLC is committed to safety and reliability. As part of the family of El Paso pipeline companies, Ruby Pipeline will be an industry leader in transporting natural gas and will take many measures to maintain the integrity of its pipeline system.

How would Ruby Pipeline protect the pipeline and maximize the safe transportation of natural gas?

Many types of protection are built into natural gas pipelines that work together to ensure people and properties are well protected throughout the life of a pipeline. The manner and method of pipeline construction and operations are regulated by the DOT. Some other types of protection are described below.

We will help ensure safe installation by:

  • Designing and constructing the pipeline to meet or exceed the government safety requirements.
  • Using equipment and material that meet or exceed industry practices.
  • Coating the steel pipe with special protective materials to minimize rust or corrosion.
  • Conducting non-destructive testing of every weld joining each section of pipe.
  • Burying the pipeline to a minimum of 30 inches of ground cover.
  • Using low-voltage electricity on all surfaces to further protect against corrosion (cathodic protection).
  • Pressure testing the entire pipeline using water pressures higher than the normal operating pressures.
  • Inspecting each stage of construction by qualified inspectors.

We will help ensure safe operations by:

  • Maintaining the right of way to provide easy access.
  • Patrolling the pipeline on a systematic basis -- on the ground and from the air -- to make sure that activities around the pipeline do not disturb or damage it in any way.
  • Continuously monitoring operations electronically from our gas-control facility.
  • Inspecting and lubricating all valves on regularly scheduled maintenance intervals.
  • Posting signs to indicate the location of the pipeline and a phone number to call before digging. (We participate in the One Call program, which provides property owners and contractors with accurate information about the pipeline. It’s also an easy way to let us know of any planned excavations near the pipeline.)

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We will help respond effectively to possible problems and emergencies by:

  • Continuously monitoring pressures electronically from our gas-control facility.
  • Training local authorities in preventing and responding to any pipeline-related problems.
  • Supporting local authorities with natural gas transmission professionals and services.

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Would the pipeline be underground?

The pipeline used to transport the natural gas is completely underground. Typically, the pipeline is covered by a minimum of three feet of soil. The pipeline would be buried deeper to accommodate planned surface activities, or where it crosses under roadways or beneath major bodies of water, such as rivers and streams.

Protecting Significant Cultural Sites and Environmentally Sensitive Areas:

What is Ruby Pipeline's commitment to protecting significant cultural sites and environmentally sensitive areas?

Ruby Pipeline is committed to protecting significant cultural sites, environmentally sensitive areas, and endangered species. This commitment extends through all aspects of the project. We will work with appropriate federal and state agencies to comply fully with all applicable laws and regulations. Beyond that, we have our own standards and procedures that help ensure that employed professionals and contractors do their utmost to exercise care and respect for the possible effect of our activities.

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How would Ruby Pipeline protect wetlands and culturally important sites?

We start by selecting a route that avoids sensitive areas whenever possible. This route is based on detailed professional surveys and studies. We also identify and mark wetlands and culturally important sites that need to be avoided during construction. During the permitting process for the project, state and Federal agencies will review and approve Ruby’s site proposed construction plans at sensitive areas like wetlands and culturally important sites to further ensure the protection of these areas. Next, we take all the necessary precautions and adhere to the best environmental practices when constructing in the vicinity of these areas. We choose only qualified and experienced professionals to construct the pipeline. By doing this, we minimize the impact of construction activities within these areas. In addition, we will employ specially trained environmental and archaeological inspectors to monitor environmentally sensitive areas, culturally sensitive areas, and endangered species during the construction process. Finally, after construction, we ensure that the site is thoroughly cleaned up. Then we restore the land, as close as possible, to its original condition.

Will Ruby Pipeline use existing rights of way?

Ruby Pipeline’s proposed route maximizes, to the extent possible, being parallel and adjacent to existing pipeline and electric utility corridors. In most cases, these utility rights of way belong to other companies, and Ruby will work with these companies to coordinate the construction and maintenance of the Ruby Project within close proximity to the existing rights of way. Ruby Pipeline proposes a 50-foot permanent easement that is generally adjacent to the outside edge of the existing easements in order to minimize construction and operational safety issues and to provide access to the pipeline.

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What is the usual width of the right of way?

Current plans call for a 50-foot-wide permanent right of way. However, during construction, we will need an additional 65 feet of temporary workspace next to the permanent right of way for a total of 115 feet of construction workspace. There is also a need for additional temporary workspace in certain areas, such as road, railroad, terrain, and/or stream crossings to accommodate particular construction activities. Once construction is complete, the temporary workspace will be restored to as close to its original condition as possible and revert back to the landowner.

How close would the pipeline get to residences?

Most often, pipelines are located well away from residences. We can estimate the closeness of the pipeline to residences involved in this project once we have completed surveying for the proposed corridor.

How will Ruby Pipeline handle topsoil in cultivated areas within an easement?

When we begin construction of the pipeline in cultivated areas, Ruby Pipeline’s contractor will remove the topsoil from the ditch line area and keep it separate from the subsoil. After the trench for the pipeline is dug and the pipeline is placed in the trench, the subsoil will be used to fill the trench and the topsoil will be placed on top of the subsoil.

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Property Owner Interests:

What is the role of a land rights negotiator?

A land rights negotiator is a professional who works with property owners along our preferred corridor. If you are the owner of property that may be involved with this project, you can regard the land rights negotiator as your primary contact person with Ruby Pipeline. The land rights negotiator will be available to meet with you throughout the project to make certain you receive up-to-date information about the project. He or she will listen to your comments and suggestions and report those to the company. Initially, the land rights negotiator will work with landowners to obtain permission for the company to conduct a series of surveys along our preferred corridor. (See below for more information on the surveys.) Ultimately, the land rights negotiator will also work with you to obtain an easement. This will provide us with the legal rights needed to install the pipeline and related facilities.

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What steps are involved in the process of determining where the pipeline will be located?

The first step is for the company to use maps and aerial photography to identify possible corridors for the pipeline. Next, the company identifies the names and addresses of landowners along the preferred corridor. Once the landowners in a county are known, each landowner will be contacted either in person or will receive a letter from the company introducing the project. The first major part of the process of working with each landowner is for the land rights negotiator to explain the surveys that must be conducted on their property, and to obtain permission to conduct these surveys. Once the initial information is compiled from surveys of the identified properties, further surveys may be necessary if the initial corridor is adjusted. By the end of 2008, Ruby Pipeline intends to have its survey work completed and make its application to the FERC, showing our preferred route and several alternate routes investigated in the process of identifying the preferred route.

What surveys will need to be conducted on my property?

Ruby Pipeline must conduct a preliminary civil survey, as well as environmental and archaeological surveys of each parcel along our preferred corridor. The preliminary civil survey will locate the proposed centerline of the corridor and place a few stakes and flagging to depict the path of the centerline. The environmental survey will usually extend 150 feet out in both directions from the staked centerline to determine the size and location of wetlands and up to ¼-mile to evaluate the land for potential habitats for endangered species, including plants and animals. This survey will also locate springs, water wells, erosion-prone areas, and man-made features that can affect pipeline construction. The archaeological survey will encompass the same area as the environmental survey and may include shovel tests to help determine site eligibility. The soil will be sifted to look for historical remains, pot shards, arrowheads, and other significant artifacts. The soil will be replaced after examination. Any artifacts collected will be studied by the archaeological firm but remain the property of the landowner.

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If a pipeline is placed on my land, will I lose the use of my property?

In most cases, normal activities on your property can resume as soon as the construction site is cleared and the area has been stabilized. On agricultural property, topsoil will be replaced and normal plowing and planting can resume. After construction, the disturbed portions of the construction easement are returned as close as practicable to their original condition and the current uses resumed. The landowner is entitled to the full use of the right of way surface so long as that use does not interfere or conflict with the rights granted to Ruby Pipeline.

What rights do owners have with respect to having a pipeline located on their property?

Property owners are entitled by law to receive fair and just compensation for having a pipeline easement on their property. Our goal is to negotiate with the property owners to obtain a signed easement for the needed property rights described above. The easement agreement will describe in more detail the specific rights that the property owner and the pipeline company will have. During this process, we will also work with property owners to address specific interests or concerns they may have. The FERC has published a pamphlet entitled, “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know,” which is available elsewhere on this website and on FERC’s website at www.ferc.gov or by calling the FERC Office of External Affairs at (866) 208-3372.

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How will property owners be compensated for their land?

We first need to determine the fair market value of the property and how the pipeline construction will affect it. Our land rights negotiator will work with persons familiar with the local real estate market to help make this assessment. Our offer will be based on this information and is subject to adjustment to recognize special factors identified by the landowner. In addition, landowners will be compensated for specific damage to their property caused by our survey and construction activity, such as the removal of trees or crops. Any damage to fences will be repaired.

What happens if an owner and Ruby Pipeline can’t agree?

Our experience is that most property owners will voluntarily agree to participate in a pipeline project like this one by signing an easement at a negotiated price. If an agreement cannot be reached, and the project has been granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the FERC, Interstate natural gas pipelines do have the right of using Federal eminent domain procedures. The use of eminent domain is always a “last resort” and we work very closely with landowners to minimize the need to exercise it. Historically, we have been very successful in negotiating amicable agreements with landowners on other, similar projects.

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Will property owners be able to use land within the right of way after construction?

In most cases, property owners will be able to use the pipeline right of way just as they did before construction. For example, agricultural activities, such as growing crops and pasturing livestock, can resume as soon as the land is ready. We will need to operate the pipeline safely, so some restrictions will apply, such as limiting the future placement of buildings or other structures, or the planting of trees within the right of way. The effect of these restrictions will be recognized as part of the easement agreement.

How can the company proceed with survey activity if a landowner refuses survey permission?

As a public service project, Ruby Pipeline can acquire the right to conduct a survey of any parcel that might be included in the pipeline corridor by order of a local court. This right of entry only applies to our ability to conduct the surveys necessary to obtain regulatory approval of our proposed route.

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Communication and More Information:

Who is the primary contact for landowners?

The land rights negotiator assigned to work with a landowner will be the landowner’s primary contact throughout the project. This individual is fully authorized by the company to work with landowners at each stage of the survey, route selection, and easement process. The land rights negotiators working in the field are supervised by Dan Gredvig (719-520-4450).

If my property is involved with the project, when will I hear from Ruby Pipeline?

You should feel free to contact your land rights negotiator any time you have a question about our project. At a minimum, your land rights negotiator will contact you as soon as our current property survey work is complete or if a re-survey of your property might be required. Some further adjustments may be necessary after we make our application to the FERC in January 2009 to accommodate variations required by the FERC staff. As a property owner, you will continue to receive information from us throughout the regulatory review process.

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What if I want to contact the FERC directly?

You may call or write the FERC at the address below. The attached pamphlet distributed by the FERC may help to provide you with further guidance about the FERC process.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Office of External Affairs
888 First Street, N.E.
Washington , DC 20426
Toll free: 1-866-208-3372
www.ferc.gov

What are the important addresses and telephone numbers for Ruby Pipeline?

Land
Dan Gredvig
Land Department
Ruby Pipeline, LLC
c/o El Paso Corporation
P. O. Box 1087
Colorado Springs, CO 80944

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2 North Nevada Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
719-520-4450
1-877-598-5263

Environmental
Nicole Pedigo
Environmental Department
Ruby Pipeline, LLC
c/o El Paso Corporation
P. O. Box 1087
Colorado Springs, CO 80944

Or

2 North Nevada Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Project Management
Bill Healy
Project Manager
(719) 520-4290
William.Healy@elpaso.com


Randy Berry
Project Manager - Compression
Ruby Pipeline, LLC
c/o El Paso Corporation
P. O. Box 1087
Colorado Springs, CO 80944

Or

2 North Nevada Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Lynn Christensen
Project Manager - Pipeline
Ruby Pipeline, LLC
c/o El Paso Corporation
P. O. Box 1087
Colorado Springs, CO 80944

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2 North Nevada Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

John Jermyn
Project Manager – Pipeline & Interconnect
Ruby Pipeline, LLC
c/o El Paso Corporation
P. O. Box 1087
Colorado Springs, CO 80944

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2 North Nevada Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Regulatory Affairs
Armida Solis
Regulatory Affairs
Ruby Pipeline, LLC
c/o El Paso Corporation
P. O. Box 1087
Colorado Springs, CO 80944

Or

2 North Nevada Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Government Affairs
Loren Locher
Governmental Affairs
Ruby Pipeline, LLC
c/o El Paso Natural Gas
7776 S. Pointe Parkway West
Suite 185
Phoenix, AZ
1-866-686-5587
1-602-438-4208

Public Relations
Richard Wheatley
c/o El Paso Corporation
P.O. Box 2511
Houston, Texas 77252-2511
713-420-6828

Or

1001 Louisiana St,
Houston, TX 77002

Or

Robert Newberry
c/o El Paso Corporation
P.O. Box 2511
Houston, Texas 77252-2511
713-420-7298

Or

1001 Louisiana St,
Houston, TX 77002

Website
www.rubypipeline.com
E-mail: questions@rubypipeline.com

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