* $3 bln Ruby pipeline's initial capacity will be 1.5 bcf
* GIP to invest up to $700 mln
* Construction expected to begin late spring 2010
HOUSTON, April 5 (Reuters) - El Paso Corp EP.N said on Monday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved its $3 billion Ruby Pipeline project.
Pending rights-of-way from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, construction on the 675-mile, 42-inch interstate natural gas pipeline will begin in late spring 2010, El Paso said. The project is scheduled to begin service in March 2011.
The pipeline will have an initial design capacity of up to 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day.
Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) will invest up to $700 million in the Ruby project, El Paso said. GIP will then buy a half interest in the project once closing conditions are satisfied.
The project wil transport natural gas from an existing supply hub in Opal, Wyoming, to interconnections near Malin, Oregon, El Paso said. The gas will then be available to California, Nevada and Pacific Northwest markets. (Reporting by Kristen Hays)