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A leading master limited partnership, Williams Partners L.P.’s (WPZ - Snapshot Report) natural gas pipeline Transco has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relating to the expansion of a compressor station and supply of additional firm natural gas transportation capacity to booming markets in the Southeast United States by the spring of 2015.

The Mobile Bay South III Expansion Project is intended to make 225,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation service available on the Transco Mobile Bay Lateral, which extends from the Station 85 4A Pooling Point and includes other receipt points located at Transco's Station 85 in Choctaw County, AL, to interconnections with Florida Gas Transmission and Bay Gas Storage in Mobile County in the same state. The project’s natural gas yield is likely to serve 1 million homes.

The expansion project entails addition of compression power at Transco Compressor Station 85 in Choctaw County. It also proposes to upgrade the existing facilities in Washington and Mobile counties in Alabama.

Construction is projected to commence in the spring of 2014, subject to the FERC approval. The project is expected to have a capital cost of around $50 million.

A 10,200-mile Transco pipeline supplies natural gas transportation and storage services markets throughout the Northeastern and Southeastern United States. The key markets of the pipeline include New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Atlanta, while the major customers are mainly power generators, local distribution companies and producers.

Over the last ten years, the company has invested over $1.8 billion and commissioned 20 Transco growth projects. Currently, the system capacity is around 9.9 million dekatherms per day, which is adequate to provide natural gas to about 42 million homes.

Williams Partners carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) stocks Memorial Production Partners LP (MEMP - Snapshot Report), Gulfmark Offshore, Inc. (GLF - Snapshot Report) and Dril-Quip, Inc. (DRQ - Analyst Report) are expected to outperform in the near term.

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