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FERC Begins Early Review of FGT's Phase VII Expansion

FERC has approved Florida Gas Transmission's (FGT) request to begin an early review of its proposed Phase VII expansion project under the agency's pre-filing process of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

"I am granting your request based on our understanding that your project is directly connected to the Southern Natural Gas Co.'s Cypress Pipeline Project," said J. Mark Robinson, director of FERC's Office of Energy Projects, in a letter Thursday.

"My staff will conduct the required National Environmental Policy Act review of your project as part of the environmental impact statement we are currently preparing on the Cypress Pipeline Project," a new natural gas pipeline that would interconnect with Southern Natural's system in Chatham County, GA, and terminate in Clay County, FL. The gas flowing over the new pipe would emanate from Southern Natural's Elba Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal near Savannah, GA.

The companion Phase VII expansion would add up to 160 MMcf/d of firm capacity to FGT's pipeline system between Jacksonville and Central Florida, said FGT spokesman John Barnett. The capacity would be added either by looping FGT's mainline or upgrading its compression, he noted. The pipeline expects to file an application at FERC later this summer. FGT is projecting that the expansion will be in service by mid-2007, Barnett said.

FGT, which is jointly owned by CrossCountry Energy and El Paso, currently has a mainline capacity of 2.1 Bcf/d, and extends 5,000 miles from South Texas to South Florida. Southern Natural is an El Paso affiliate also.

Southern Natural's Cypress project would include 165 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline and 10 miles of 30-inch diameter pipe in Georgia and northern Florida to transport LNG-sourced natural gas from Elba Island to the Florida market. The project also is targeted for in-service in mid-2007.

Progress Energy Florida Inc. has entered into a 20-year, $3.3 billion agreement with Southern Natural and FGT, as transportation providers, and with BG LNG Services to supply LNG-sourced gas to the company's 461 MW Hines 4 combined-cycle generation facility in Bartow, FL, as well as to satisfy its existing as requirements, a spokesman for the Raleigh, NC-based energy company said. The agreements are to become effective May 1, 2007.

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