Amid the chaos and confusion of the COVID-19 pandemic, work continues on Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway pipeline that will carry natural gas from the Waha hub in the Permian Basin’s Pecos County to the Katy area along the Gulf Coast.
Kinder Morgan, which is building the $2 million project in partnership with Midland’s EagleClaw Midstream and Altus Midstream, began construction on the western end of the pipeline. That spread, which exceeds 100 miles, is about 95 percent complete mechanically. The next two spreads, about 15 miles, will take the project into the Hill Country, which Allen Fore, vice president, public affairs with Kinder Morgan, said requires specialized construction methods because of the area’s unique geology.
The company anticipated the spreads crossing Hill Country would take longer because of the specialized construction required. The route through the Hill Country has drawn opposition and lawsuits from residents.
Hays County rescinded county road permits which allowed Kinder Morgan to install its Permian Highway Pipeline. Fore said the company wasn’t aware that the county was going to make the move it did; however, Kinder Morgan wants to be in full compliance of what Hays County is requesting.
“It appears from our initial conversations with (county) staff that there may be additional information that is being asked for,” Fore said. “So, we’re going to work with them on providing that. I think commissioner Lon Shell indicated that this is a pause in the process, and we’re certainly considering it that.”
Most recently the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permitting the pipeline even though, the lawsuit said, a federal court order had vacated the nationwide permit on which the pipeline’s 449 water crossings are based and for not performing the environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The pipeline is still on target to be placed in service in early 2021.