El Paso Corp. last week filed a formal application with FERC seeking authority to build the U.S. leg of its proposed Bahamas-to-Florida Seafarer natural gas pipeline.

The Houston-based energy company’s filing comes months after two competing Bahamas-to-Florida projects — AES Corp.’s Ocean Express pipeline project and Tractebel’s Calypso line — were granted certificates by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Although El Paso is a distant third in the race to bring new supplies to the Sunshine State, the company is not giving up. “We continue to make progress with the Seafarer project, which will provide a new source of natural gas supplies for southern Florida,” said John W. Somerhalder, president of El Paso’s Pipeline Group.

“Seafarer has market support with its existing pipeline capacity agreements, as well as clear technical and environmental advantages,” he noted. In April, FPL Group Resources executed a binding precedent agreement for about 800 MMcf/d of capacity on El Paso’s Seafarer project (see NGI, April 19). The Florida Power & Light affiliate also recently signed an LNG supply agreement with ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum.

Meanwhile, Florida Power & Light issued a request for proposals in August for a 25-year supply of up to 600,000 MMBtu/d of regasified LNG starting in 2007. The results of the RFP, which are expected next June, probably will decide the fate of one or more of the three proposed LNG/pipeline projects (see https://www.fpl.com/about/plant/contents/2004lngrfp.shtml for details on the RFP; the deadline for proposals is Dec. 3).

The Seafarer Pipeline System would consist of an 87-mile international segment from the proposed High Rock liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal in the Bahamas to the United States-Bahamas Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Atlantic Ocean. It also would include a 41-mile U.S. segment from the EEZ to an onshore interconnect with Florida Gas Transmission system in Palm Beach County, FL.

El Paso has worked with the Commission through the pre-filing process since March and has asked the agency to issue a certificate by July 31, 2005. Construction of the project is scheduled to begin in 2006, with the 26-inch diameter pipeline expected to be in service by 2008.

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