FGT Raps Competing Buccaneer Pipe Project
The proposed Buccaneer Pipeline, which is seeking approval as an
optional-certificate project, should be held to the same high
standards as are other major pipeline projects under FERC's new
policy statement, says Florida Gas Transmission (FGT).
FERC exempted optional-certificate (OC) pipelines, such as
Buccaneer, from the requirements of the policy statement on
pipeline construction because sponsors bear the economic risks for
their projects. But FGT doesn't believe Buccaneer, a potential
competitor in a market long dominated by FGT, should be so easily
"Projects submitted for approval under the Commission's OC
procedures raise the same public policy concerns that the
Commission has identified for projects under traditional Section 7c
procedures. These concerns include 'the possibility of
overbuilding, the avoidance of unnecessary disruption of the
environment, and the unneeded exercise of eminent domain,'" FGT
said in a filing at FERC [CP00-16].
"The compelling reasons supporting the standards set forth in
the statement of policy do not disappear simply because an
applicant uses different application procedures or accepts economic
risk. The public interest concerns arise regardless of the type of
application submitted," FGT told the Commission.
"Unnecessary overbuilding is unnecessary overbuilding,
regardless of the type of procedures followed," the pipeline said.
FGT further criticized Buccaneer for failing to back up its
project with firm service agreements, and for not identifying a
"specific market need" for the proposed pipeline.
The proposed 533-mile, 36-inch Buccaneer line would begin in
Mobile County, AL, and would cross the Gulf of Mexico, coming
ashore on the west coast of Florida just north of Tampa. There it
plans to branch out eastward to serve the expanding gas-fired
generation market in the Sunshine State.
Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S. Inc. and Mobil Oil
Exploration and Producing Southeast (MOEPSI) said that although
they favored any project that would provide additional access to
Florida markets for their Mobile Bay gas production, they were
concerned Buccaneer could foreclose Mobil's ability to use a
corridor to construct a pipeline to transport sour gas production
to its Mary Ann sweetening facility. Buccaneer's proposed route
would also cross a pipeline corridor known as Portersville Bay,
which MOEPSI said it would need for its pipeline. Mobil owns the
land on which the corridors are located.
"Representatives of MOEPSI and Buccaneer have met in recent
weeks to discuss ways in which to mitigate the potentially serious
consequences of Buccaneer's use of MOEPSI's already-busy corridor"
and several issues still must be resolved," the Mobil companies
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