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Calypso Seeks to Modify Pipe Project to Accommodate Deepwater LNG Port

Calypso U.S. Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of SUEZ Energy North America Inc., is seeking FERC approval to modify its pipeline project that would transport natural gas to Florida to accommodate the construction of a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port off the southeastern coast of the state.

The original plans called for a SUEZ Energy affiliate to construct a new LNG terminal in Freeport, Grand Bahama and a connecting Bahamian pipeline, which would tie in with the Calypso line at the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) international boundary. "But we don't have any clear understanding of when the Bahamas would make a decision" on the terminal and pipeline, said SUEZ Energy spokeswoman Paula Rockstroh.

"We're certainly still interested" in building a land-based Bahamas LNG terminal and Bahamian pipeline, but "we view that as a longer-term development," she said. In the meantime, the Houston-based company is moving ahead with the development of a deepwater port 10 miles off the southeastern coast of Florida, which would serve as an offshore delivery point for LNG transported by tankers.

SUEZ Energy filed its application with the U.S. Coast Guard to build a deepwater port earlier this year, said Rockstroh, adding that the approval process would last approximately one year and construction would take two years.

She noted that construction of the Calypso pipeline would not begin until the Coast Guard has acted on the deepwater port application.

To accommodate the deepwater LNG port, Calypso requested FERC permission to modify near-shore horizontal directional drilling construction so that it can build a tunnel of approximately 10-foot diameter from Port Everglades, FL to a point about 3.2 miles seaward on the subsea floor where the depth is about 126 feet.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had given Calypso up to three years from the date of its March 2004 certificate -- rather than the typical two years -- to complete the 41.9-mile pipeline. But because of the proposed modifications, the company has asked FERC for authority to defer the in-service date to June 30, 2010.

Calypso also is seeking the go-ahead to enlarge the diameter of the pipeline project that would deliver gas to Florida from the proposed deepwater LNG port and possibly later from a land-based terminal in the Bahamas.

The company wants the agency to modify its project certificates so it can expand the diameter of the mostly offshore pipeline project to 30 inches from 24 inches. The proposed change would not affect the certificated capacity of the proposed pipeline (832,000 MMBtu/d), Calypso said.

The pipeline would transport gas to a connection with Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) in central Broward County from the proposed LNG deepwater port off Florida's Southeast coast and possibly later from a connection with a non-jurisdictional line at the EEZ international boundary. The Calypso line would make landfall at Port Everglades, then travel onshore to a proposed interconnection with FGT adjacent to Florida Power & Light's Fort Lauderdale power plant.

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