FGT Gets Environmental Go-Ahead for Expansion

FERC has given a final environmental nod to Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) for an incremental expansion of its existing 1.7 Bcf/d natural gas transportation system to 2.1 Bcf/d.

Construction of FGT's proposed $452 million Phase V expansion, which the pipeline estimates will provide an additional 306 MMcf/d on an annual basis to an unfolding power generation market in Florida, would have "limited adverse environmental impact," provided "specific mitigation measures" are used, said FERC staff in its final environmental impact statement (FEIS). "We believe these measures would substantially reduce the environmental impact of the project."

The FEIS comes more than eight months after the Commission issued a preliminary determination on non-environmental issues for the expansion (see NGI, Nov. 27). As part of that decision, FERC also gave a tentative go-ahead for Koch Gateway Pipeline to sell an undivided interest in its Mobile Bay Lateral assets to FGT for its Phase V expansion. The lateral would provide FGT shippers with upstream access to 300 MMcf/d of additional capacity, as well as entrance to all existing receipt and delivery points on the line. FGT plans to build a 30-inch line to connect the lateral to its system.

FERC staff said it gave the FGT project the green light because: 1) about 74% of the new pipeline would either overlap or be adjacent to existing pipeline, powerline, abandoned railroad, and road rights-of-way, reducing the need to establish new utility corridors; 2) FGT would use its Plan and Procedures to mitigate impacts on soils, wetlands, waterbodies and other resources; 3) an environmental inspection and mitigation monitoring program would be in effect to ensure compliance with all mitigation measures; and 4) appropriate consultations with federal and state agencies would be completed before FGT could begin construction.

The Phase V project would add about 230 miles of pipeline and loops to FGT's existing 4,800-mile system, according to a spokeswoman for Enron Corp., which owns the pipeline jointly with El Paso Corp. The expansion is fully subscribed by seven shippers, and is targeted for completion in spring of 2002, she noted. The project follows the company's Phase IV 200 MMcf/d pipeline expansion, which was completed in April.

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