AES Proposes Bahamas-to-Florida Pipe, LNG Project

AES Corp. has begun an open season for capacity on a 76-mile pipeline that it plans to build from a small island in the Bahamas, which it purchased in July, to southern Florida to meet the expanding demand for natural gas by power generators and distributors in the Sunshine State and elsewhere in the Southeast.

The company proposes to build two 160,000 cubic-meter liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks on the 90-acre island, which is located about 65 miles east of Miami, and construct the Ocean Express Pipeline to transport regasified LNG to Ft. Lauderdale in southern Florida, where it would interconnect with Florida Gas Transmission (FGT), said Edward Cahill, project manager with AES Coral, which is responsible for AES' operations in Florida and Central America.

The majority of the proposed 800,000 MMBtu/d pipeline -- an estimated 68 miles -- would be under water, he noted. Approximately 41 miles of the line would be located in U.S. waters and would be under FERC jurisdiction, while the remainder would be in Bahamian waters, Cahill said.

The AES project bears a striking similarity to Enron's proposed Calypso Pipeline, which filed an application at FERC in July. That project seeks to build a $132 million pipeline that would transport up to 832,000 MMBtu/d of regasified LNG from the Bahamas to an interconnect with FGT (See NGI, July 30) .

"It is similar to the Enron project," Cahill agreed, but he noted there are some differences -- the AES LNG facilities would be located closer to the Florida peninsula and on a separate island. In the end, he thinks there's room in the market for both projects.

Cahill declined to give a projected cost estimate for the proposed facilities, but he did say it would be "substantial." Nor would he say how much AES paid this summer when it purchased Marcona Industries, the company that operates the Bahamian island.

The company expects the LNG terminal-pipeline project to be completed in mid-2004, and to file an application at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the end of the year, Cahill said.

The open season for capacity on the proposed Ocean Express Pipeline will run until Oct. 18. Interested shippers should contact Cahill at ecahill@aesc.com, or David Flory, also a project manager for AES Coral, at dflory@aesc.com.

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