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AES Bahamas LNG Project Gets FERC Authorizations

AES Bahamas LNG Project Gets FERC Authorizations

AES Ocean Express LLC on Thursday received a presidential permit and authorizations from FERC to build the 54-mile U.S. leg of a pipeline that would transport 842 MMcf/d of gas to southern Florida from a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in the Bahamas.

The action put the AES project clearly ahead of two other competing Bahamas-to-Florida pipelines, sponsored by Tractebel and El Paso Corp. But Tractebel's Calypso Pipeline project is not far behind in the regulatory process. FERC gave Calypso initial environmental approval last August (see Daily GPI, Aug. 5, 2003). Tractebel and El Paso are planning to build LNG terminals in Freeport, Grand Bahama. AES is dredging sand and soil to create its own 90-acre industrial island, called Ocean Cay, for its LNG plant.

FERC issued a final environmental impact statement on the AES project last month, concluding the pipeline would have "limited adverse environmental impact" if "appropriate mitigating measures" are used [CP02-90-001] (see Daily GPI, Dec. 2, 2003).

The U.S. portion of the pipeline, 46 miles of which would be subsea facilities, would deliver gas to Broward County, FL, from the proposed terminus of a 40-mile non-jurisdictional line at the Exclusive Economic Zone boundary between the United States and the Bahamas. The $440 million pipeline would extend to interconnections with Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) and Florida Power and Light's distribution system near its Fort Lauderdale power plant. The proposed 24-inch diameter line, which has been pegged for in-service by late 2005 to mid-2006, would deliver 842,000 Dth/d of gas, the majority of which has been contracted by affiliate AES LNG Marketing.

The AES project is one of several that are aimed at satisfying the anticipated demand growth in the Sunshine State. Peak gas demand in Florida is expected to increase by 2.39 Bcf/d by 2010 and by 4.54 Bcf/d by 2020, according to AES. This projected rise in demand will be three times the capacity to be created by AES Ocean.

The pipeline received a preliminary determination from FERC last April. AES said construction of the import terminal, storage and regasification facilities in Ocean Cay, Bahamas, would begin in 2004 and would be ready for in-service by 2006.

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