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Florida Power Has Choices for Winning NatGas Pipe Project

Move over Florida Gas Transmission (FGT), Southern Natural Gas, Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC and Cypress Pipeline because Spectra Energy Corp. wants to build a 465-mile interstate natural gas pipeline into the Sunshine State.

Spectra's plan for a large diameter pipe is in response to a request for gas transportation proposals from Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), the largest power company in the state. Other pipeline companies also are interested.

A spokeswoman for FPL told NGI that the utility "has received a few proposals from pipelines and hopes to make an announcement about the winning bid later this month."

FPL put out the request for proposals for a new pipeline last December (see NGI, Dec. 17, 2012). While the utility has not yet selected the company to develop, construct and operate the project, Sabal Trail is following an aggressive plan to independently undertake certain early pre-award activities in order to maintain a schedule to meet the anticipated May 2017 in-service date.

"The [Spectra Energy] Sabal Trail project is in the early development stage. We anticipate FPL awarding the project by mid July...In the near term, Sabal Trail is initiating several activities to better position the project to meet the scheduled requirements, should Sabal Trail be awarded the project," said Houston-based Spectra, which noted that it submitted a comprehensive response to FPL's request.

In April, Spectra "submitted what we believe is a very competitive bid in response to FPL's [request for proposal]," said CEO Greg Ebel. "We're optimistic about our proposal and our position and look forward to further expanding our service into the Florida market."

The proposed Sabal Trail project would include approximately 465 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline (55 miles in Alabama, 196 miles in Georgia and 214 miles in Florida), and initially at least two compressor stations in Alabama and Florida. The proposed pipeline, which the company estimates would cost about $3 billion, would be capable of transporting 1 Bcf/d or more of natural gas to serve local distribution companies, industrial users and natural gas-fired power generators in the Southwest markets.

The pipeline would originate in Alabama, extend to Georgia and end in Central Florida. A connecting pipeline to be constructed by others would complete the delivery of gas to in Martin County, FL.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Florida generates 62% of its power from 1.1 Tcf of natural gas.

Kinder Morgan had expressed an interest in developing the pipeline earlier this year (see NGI, Jan. 21). "We will certainly be bidding on that," it said in January. "It's very close to our SNG [Southern Natural Gas] system, where they want the pipeline to run." Executives who could confirm that a Florida pipeline remained an objective were not available for comment.

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