Joint Buccaneer, Gulfstream Line Proposed
The proposed Florida-bound Buccaneer Gas Pipeline and Gulfstream
Natural Gas System have received initial environmental clearances
from FERC, with staff proposing that the two pipeline projects be
joined at the hip in Polk County in the central part of the state,
west of Tampa.
Assuming both proposed pipelines are built, the Commission staff
has endorsed a one-pipeline system alternative that would reduce
the combined Buccaneer and Gulfstream construction in Polk County
by about 40% to 73.6 miles from 121.5 miles, shaving off about 48
The single-pipeline alternative would begin at Buccaneer's Polk
County Mainline, proceed south to the Tiger Bay Lateral where it
would join Gulfstream's Line 400, and then would flow southward for
7 miles to connect with Gulfstream's Lines 300 and 500, according
to FERC staff's draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).
"When you think about it, it makes sense" if both Buccaneer and
Gulfstream proceed with their projects, said Chris Stockton, a
spokesman for Williams Gas Pipeline, which has joined with Duke
Energy to sponsor Buccaneer. But, he quickly pointed out, Williams
doesn't believe both projects will be constructed.
"Our position has been that we only think that the market's
going to support one pipeline, not both of them. We believe it's
going to be Buccaneer. I think it's highly unlikely both will be
constructed," he told NGI. Both projects, which are targeted for
service in mid-2002, received preliminary determinations from FERC
"I would respectfully disagree with them on that. It's probably
true that only one project will be built, but we think it's going
to be Gulfstream," countered Joe Martucci, a spokesman for Coastal
Corp., the sponsor of Gulfstream.
Also, FERC staff said an alternative that called for re-routing
of Gulfstream through the northern part of Highlands County
"warranted further review."
The 744-mile Gulfstream and the 678-mile Buccaneer would
transport a combined 2.03 Bcf/d to gas-hungry power generation
markets in Florida. Both pipelines would cross the Gulf of Mexico,
with Buccaneer coming ashore in Pasco County, FL, and Gulfstream
entering through Manatee County. The Buccaneer project has have
faced substantial opposition from landowners in Pasco County.
The Commission staff evaluated an alternative that called for
combining the Gulfstream and Buccaneer systems in the Gulf into a
single 466-mile, 42-inch pipeline (with 107 miles of 42-inch
looping), but it rejected it because the looping would double the
disturbance and because of the complications involved in laying
42-inch pipe under water. Also, a single, underwater pipeline would
be less reliable and would increase the chances of supply
disruptions associated with maintenance activities, it said.