Location, location, location. It's the mantra for the real estate industry and so it might seem, for the natural gas pipeline industry as well. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe was on hand recently to celebrate the progress of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and their Fayette Lateral, which begins in Conway County. That name may seen familiar, because it was just several months ago that the area was heavily damaged by several tornadoes. and Beebe along with local, state and federal officials were on hand to celebrate what they called a major economic boost for the area. Beebe called the pipeline project has "made for a brighter day" for the region. For the good folks in Conway County, the Fayette Lateral means 1,350 jobs when the pipeline is at peak construction which translates to an annual payroll of about $57 million. The Arkanas portion of the $5 billion Boardwalk pipeline project will cut through eight counties and end at a Lula, Miss. Before it's all said and done, the Boardwalk project will see major construction projects in Oklahoma and Texas as well. That's some big economic numbers for any state. For Arkansas, though, it was some more good economic news. According to the Department of Workforce Services Communications Director Kimberly Friedman, the state's unemployment rate in May was 5.1%, up from 4.7% post in April. The national unemployment rate for May is 5.5%. For Arkansas, the Boardwalk Pipeline is just as important as an economic factor in its state employment figures as it will be for people in the market areas who will soon benefit from the gas flowing through the pipe. The 36-inch pipeline will move gas from the Fayetteville shale formation to states in the Northeast, Southeast and Upper Midwest. Boardwalk expects the first 60 miles of the Fayetteville Lateral to be ready and in service by the third quarter and the remainder to be open with an initial capacity of 800 million cubic feet per day during the first quarter of 2009 and fully operational with a capacity of 1.3 billion cubic feet per day by 2010. More to come. The project will also generate jobs and revenue in Oklahoma and Texas as it gets rolling. –John A. Sullivan, News Editor, Oil and Gas Investor, www.OilandGasInvestor.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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