AN EXTENSION to a Gulf of Mexico natural gas gathering pipeline system is now flowing natural gas, project operator Williams Partners has announced.

Built in water depths of up to 7,200 feet, about 300 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, the 20-inch, 209 mile Keathley Canyon Connector deepwater gas gathering pipeline system serves producers in the central ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Developed by Williams and its joint venture partner DCP Midstream Partners, the connector is capable of gathering more than 400 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas.

The pipeline starts in the southeast portion of the Keathley Canyon protraction area and terminates into Discovery’s 30-inch diameter mainline at Discovery’s South Timbalier Block 283 junction platform.

From there, it connects to the onshore Larose gas processing plant and Paradis fractionator, Williams senior vice president for the Atlantic-Gulf Rory Miller said.

“Building a pipeline in challenging terrain at this depth is incredibly complex, and I applaud our project team for their commitment to completing the project in a safe, environmentally responsible and timely manner,” he said.

Larose has a processing capacity of 600 million cubic feet per day, while the Paradis fractionation facility can handle 35,000 barrels per day.

DCP Midstream Partners president Bill Waldheim said the pipeline meant the Discovery joint venture was now ready to serve the growing production leads of local deepwater producers.

“This is a great fee-based asset which will generate strong distributable cash flows for DPM,” he said.

The Keathley Canyon Connector extension is supported by long-term agreements with the Lucius and Hadrian South owners, as well as the Heidelberg and Hadrian North owners, for natural gas gathering, transportation and processing services for production from those fields, Williams said.

Williams is the general partner of Williams Partners, which owns 60 per cent of the Discovery system and operates it, while DCP retains the remaining 40%.