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Florida's First LNG Storage Project 'On Hold'

Plans for what would be the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) peak-shaving storage facility in Florida are on hold because Florida Power & Light (FPL) and other utilities have not contracted for capacity, according to Floridian Natural Gas Storage (FGS).

"We have a long-term option on the property, and the FERC certificate is good for multiple years, so as soon as the contracting issues are worked out we would expect the project to get going," FGS spokeswoman Maureen Saltzer told NGI. "We're continuing to work on contracting."

FPL said it has made a final decision not to store gas at the proposed facility based on the project's economics.

"We've spent in excess of 500 hours evaluating the proposal and at this point we feel it would be irresponsible to our customers for FPL to proceed," FPL spokeswoman Sarah Marmion told NGI Friday.

The announcement came more than six months after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Houston-based start-up company's proposal to build the facility on the 145-acre Florida Steel Superfund site near Indiantown in Martin County, FL (see NGI, Sept. 8, 2008). The location is near the Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) and Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC pipelines, and the project's plans call for construction of pipeline facilities to interconnect with Gulfstream and FPL. The majority owner of FGS is Targa Resources Inc.

The facility, which would be completed in two phases, is planned to provide up to 8 Bcf of firm capacity with a design sendout capacity of 800 MMcf/d and design liquefaction rate of 100 MMcf/d. An open season for Phase I capacity (4 Bcf) concluded two years ago was oversubscribed (see NGI, March 19, 2007). Phase I was scheduled to begin operation in late May 2011, while Phase II was targeted for service by March 2016.

FGS has already spent more than $10 million on what is expected to be a $600 million project, Saltzer said.

The project application, which was filed at FERC in late 2007, also calls for the construction of two LNG storage tanks, a liquefaction system with the capacity to process 100 MMcf/d; a vaporization system with the capacity to process 800 MMcf/d; and a natural gas liquids storage system that could store up to 240,000 gallons of heavy hydrocarbons (see NGI, Nov. 12, 2007).

The plant would be built by Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., which has built more than 40 LNG terminals and peak-shaving plants and 120 cryogenic LNG storage tanks around the world. Gas would be delivered to and from the facility via Florida's two existing pipelines -- FGT and Gulfstream.

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