After getting more than 1 billion cubic feet per day of binding customer commitments with 10- to 15-year contracts, Ruby Pipeline LLC is moving forward with the Ruby pipeline, a $3-billion gas pipeline project. For the record: Ruby Pipeline LLC is a subsidiary of Houston-based El Paso Corp. As planned, the Ruby pipeline is a 42-inch, 670-mile long pipeline that will begin at the Opal Hub in Wyoming and end at Malin, Oregon, near the California border. If all the necessary hurdles are cleared on time, the pipeline could be in service sometime in 2011. It will have an initial capacity of between 1.3 billion and 1.5 billion cubic feet per day. El Paso officials said they are in talks to get additional commitments for more capacity and hope to file their certificate application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in early 2009. The pipeline is being financed through free cash flow, project financing and other forms of capital, El Paso said. The company reports it does not plan to issue equity for the pipeline, but hasn't ruled out bringing in equity partners at a later date. With the Ruby pipeline, El Paso now has about $7 billion worth of new pipeline projects. All of the projects are expected to be in service within the next five years. For Ruby, that's just in time to get gas to a energy-consuming West Coast.

–John A. Sullivan, News Editor, Oil and Gas Investor,,