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FPL, FGT Alliance Anchors Florida Pipeline Expansion

FPL, FGT Alliance Anchors Florida Pipeline Expansion

Where there's new power generation these days, there usually is natural gas. And Florida will add almost 11,000 MW of power over the next eight years, according to a recent report by the state's utilities. Power demand is soaring in the state, particularly in the southwestern portion, where currently there are no gas pipelines. That's going to change soon, however.

The state's only interstate gas trunkline, Florida Gas Transmission, announced plans last week for its fourth expansion since going into service. The cornerstone of the new project is a 100-mile southern extension to Fort Myers from existing facilities near Tampa.

Florida Power &amp Light plans to add 2,500 MW of gas-fired power, the majority of which will be added at its existing Fort Myers generation plant. The plant will undergo a major repowering over the next three years that will triple its capacity through the addition of new gas-fired turbines. By 2001, FPL expects to need more than 180 MMcf/d of additional gas supply to fuel the 1,400 MW plant.

FGT plans to build about 100 miles of new 24- or 30-inch diameter pipeline for the Fort Myers plant alone. "This is a major part of our Phase 4 expansion," said FGT President Rockford G. Meyer. "We're negotiating with a number of other shippers to be included in this. There will be some upstream looping and maybe some upstream compression along our existing line. We will have the rest of this expansion included in our FERC filing to be made on Dec. 1."

Meyer said the pipeline will begin holding town meetings in October to come up with a mutually beneficial route. "Our team will be looking at potential routes that minimize environmental and public impact and, wherever possible, follow existing linear facilities such as power lines, highways and railroads."

FGT held an open season last year to test the market for new capacity and so far eight shippers have expressed interest in 275,000 Dth/d of capacity. FGT estimates 55,000 Dth/d of that will be provided with existing capacity that is turned back by other shippers. Meyer said the company will be talking with potential customers over the next few months to gauge interest in additional capacity to be added in a fifth phase.

FGT, a subsidiary of Citrus Corp., which is owned by Sonat and Enron, expects to begin construction on the Phase 4 expansion in the first quarter of 2000 to meet the phased start-up of the repowered Fort Myers facility in early 2001. FGT's system currently has a capacity to transport 1.4 Bcf/d of gas.

Rocco Canonica

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