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Transco Seeks Pre-Filing Review of Project to Lease Capacity to Sabal Trail

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) has asked FERC to initiate a pre-filing review of  the expansion of its system in Alabama to provide approximately 1.13 Bcf/d of natural gas to meet growing power generation demand in Florida.

The capacity to be created by the so-called Hillabee Expansion Project, which will be constructed in three phases, will be leased to Sabal Trail Transmission LLC, a joint venture of Spectra Energy and Nextra Energy Inc. The initial phase of the Hillabee project would provide 818 MMcf/d by May 1, 2017, to be followed by the second phase with 206 MMcf/d in May 2020 and the third phase with 106 MMcf/d in May 2021.

FPL, the largest power company in the state, put out the request for proposals for a new pipeline in December, and Sabal Trail was named the winning bidder in July (see Daily GPI, July 29). Sabal Trail would have an estimated price tag of $3 billion and originate in Tallapoosa County, AL, extend through Georgia and terminate at the Central Florida Hub near Orlando. Through a capacity lease with Transco, natural gas supply would be accessed at Transco's Station 85 in Choctaw County, AL. The 465-mile pipeline would have the capacity to transport more than 1 Bcf/d to serve local distribution companies, industrial users and natural gas-fired power generators. According to the Energy Information Administration, Florida generates 62% of its power from 1.1 Tcf of natural gas.

The initial phase of Transco’s Hillabee expansion calls for the installation of 36,500 hp of additional compression at Transco's two existing compressor stations; a new 32,000 hp station in Choctaw County AL; along with 15.6 miles of 42-inch pipe in three loops and 4.6 miles of 48-inch pipe. Additional compression and large diameter loops will be required for phases two and three.

Transco has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin the pre-filing process by Nov. 8, and to approve the phase one project by November 2015 so that Transco can complete the first phase proposed facilities and begin service by May 2017.

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