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FGT Proposes Major Expansion to Meet Generation Demand

Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) has submitted an application at FERC to build 483.2 miles of pipeline facilities to meet expanding gas-fired power generation demand in the Sunshine State.

The Phase VIII project, which is estimated to cost $2.45 billion, calls for the construction of approximately 357.3 miles of pipeline looping of FGT's existing mainline system; about 89.8 miles of new interstate pipeline; two customer laterals totaling approximately 36.1 miles; 213,600 hp of additional mainline compression at eight existing compressor stations and one new compressor station; and associated facilities. The diameter of the pipeline would range from 20 inches to 42 inches.

FGT, a pipeline subsidiary of Panhandle Energy, also proposes to acquire from Florida Power & Light (FPL) approximately 22.7 miles of an existing 20-inch diameter lateral that connects to the FPL Martin power plant. In addition, it seeks authorization to operate certain existing segments of its system at a greater maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) -- up to 80% of the specified minimum yield strength (SMYS) in Class 1 locations (low population density), 67% of SMYS in Class 2 locations (somewhat higher population density) and 56% SMYS in Class 3 locations (even higher population density). Operating at higher MAOP would eliminate the need to build about 80 miles of additional pipeline needed for the project, FGT said.

The pipeline has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the project on or before Oct. 1, 2009. It wants to put a proposed 16-mile Manatee Lateral in Manatee County, FL, in service by July 1, 2010 and remaining Phase VIII facilities in operation by April 1, 2011.

Six shippers -- with FPL as the anchor shipper -- have signed precedent agreements for 731,000 MMBtu/d of the 820,000 MMBtu/d to be created by the expansion. The other shippers are Progress Energy Florida, Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc., Tampa Electric Co., Orlando Utilities Commission and the City of Tallahassee, FL.

The expansion is slated to increase the capacity of FGT's mainline facilities from the Mobile Bay, AL, area to southern Florida to provide additional firm transportation service capacity throughout Florida to meet the state's rising energy demand. The demand for natural gas in Florida increased to 2.4 Bcf/d in 2007 from 1.5 Bcf/d in 2000, FGT said in its application. Electric generation accounted for the vast majority of the increase -- 2.1 Bcf/d -- in 2007.

The 5,000-mile FGT system is one of two pipeline serving Florida -- with the other being Gulfstream Natural Gas System. It currently delivers about 2.3 Bcf/d of gas from the Gulf of Mexico to the state.

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