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FERC OKs Trio of Transco-to-Florida Pipelines in Time to Beat the Heat

A new pathway for Florida-bound natural gas has been cleared for service just in time for the summer cooling season.

FERC on Friday authorized partial start-up for the Sabal Trail Project, clearing the way for the 515-mile, 1.07 million Dth/d pipeline to begin delivering additional volumes of natural gas into central Florida.

Sabal Trail is part of a trio of projects designed to deliver natural gas from Transco's Zone 4 into central and south Florida. To the upstream of Sabal Trail is Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line’s (Transco) Hillabee Expansion, with the NextEra-backed Florida Southeast Connection planning to tap Sabal to the downstream to serve FPL's hybrid solar/natural gas Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center in Martin County, FL.

In a separate filing Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also authorized Florida Southeast Connection to begin service. On Wednesday, Transco received authorization to start service on the Hillabee Expansion, including Looping in Tallapoosa and Coosa counties, AL, as well as compressor stations in Dallas and Coosa counties in Alabama.

Last month, Sabal Trail Transmission LLC, a joint venture of Spectra Energy partners LP, NextEra Energy Inc. and Duke Energy, asked FERC for authorization to begin delivering 400,000 Dth/d to NextEra-subsidiary Florida Power & Light Co (FPL).

On Friday, FERC's Office of Energy Projects authorized Sabal Trail to place 482.4 miles of mainline pipe into service between an interconnect with Transco in Tallapoosa County, AL, and an interconnect in Osceola County, FL. FERC also authorized the startup of compressor stations in Alabama and Florida, as well as three meter and regulator stations.

Combined, the projects should help take some of the edge off Florida natural gas prices this summer by adding a substantial new pathway for gas to flow into the Sunshine State.

During periods of peak cooling demand, FGT Citygate has been one of the most expensive points in the country in the day-ahead market. Gas delivered there traded as high as $6.82/MMBtu in July 2016, a nearly $4 premium to Henry Hub, according to NGI prices.

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