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Modified Calypso Pipe Project Gets Environmental Nod

FERC has given Calypso U.S. Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of SUEZ Energy North America Inc., the environmental go-ahead on proposed modifications to its pipeline project that are designed to accommodate the construction of a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port off the southeastern coast of Florida.

"Approval of this proposal would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of human environment," the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), in cooperation with the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, concluded in an environmental assessment of Calypso's plan to modify its pipeline [CP01-409].

The original project called for the proposed Calypso pipeline to tie in with a Bahamian line at the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) international boundary. The joined pipes were to deliver gas from a proposed LNG terminal in Freeport, Grand Bahama, to Florida markets. However, Suez Energy put those plans on the back-burner due to uncertainty over when the Bahamian government would make a decision on the terminal and pipeline.

In the meantime, the Houston-based company is moving ahead with a deepwater port 10 miles off the southeastern coast of Florida, which would serve as an offshore delivery point for LNG transported by tankers. In November, SUEZ Energy North America's subsidiary, Calypso LNG LLC, said the U.S. Coast Guard had deemed complete its application for a Deepwater Port License for the company's proposed deepwater port, setting in motion a statutory review period for approval of a license to build and operate the project (see Daily GPI, Nov. 2). The project is expected to be operational in early 2010.

To accommodate the deepwater LNG port, Calypso Pipeline proposes to modify near-shore horizontal directional drilling construction so that it can build a tunnel from Port Everglades, FL, to a point about 3.2 miles seaward on the subsea floor. As a result of the tunnel modification, Calypso also proposes to enlarge the diameter of the pipeline project to 30 inches in diameter from 24 inches. The proposed change would not affect the certificated capacity of the proposed pipeline (832,000 Dth/d), it said.

FERC 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.

The proposed 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 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.

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