Enron Plans Bahamas LNG Facility, Pipeline to FL

With the understanding that it's no secret the state of Florida is in dire need of new natural gas-fired electric generating facilities and increased gas supply to support them in the near future, Enron last week disclosed plans to construct an estimated $300 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and facility in the Bahamas and a 90-mile gas pipeline from the facilities to the coast of Florida, said Habiba Bayi, a spokeswoman for the company.

The state has forecast that about 10,000 MW of new generation capacity will be built in Florida between now and 2010, which would boost gas demand by 1.6 Bcf/d. Duke Energy and Williams understood the extent of Florida's potential late last year as they ditched their own Buccaneer Pipeline project in favor of buying out its rival. The companies reached an agreement in November 2000 with The Coastal Corp. to buy its 100% interest in the proposed Gulfstream pipeline project. However, the Gulfstream line --- scheduled for June 2002 --- will only deliver up to 1.13 Bcf/d.

All indicators in the state point toward more electric generation, which in turn equates to more natural gas. In late April 2000, the Florida Public Service Commission told the state's largest electric utilities to increase their power reserve margin, or the amount of generation available in excess of peak-day needs, to 20% from 15%, and most if not all of that increase is expected to be achieved through the addition of gas-fired power.

The proposed Enron facility, which would be built on Grand Bahama, would regassify the LNG to be piped near Port Everglades, FL, just north of Miami. Bayi said that the project remained in very early development stages, and still needed numerous approvals from regulatory groups as well as from Florida and the Bahamas.

"If all goes well with the approval processes that have to be conducted on the Bahamas side as well as the Florida side, we hope construction will begin in early 2002," said Bayi. "Given that, we hope commercial operation will begin in late 2004."

Alex Steis

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