FERC Friday gave a favorable final environmental nod to El Paso Corp. affiliates Southern LNG Inc., Elba Express Co. and Southern Natural Gas pipeline to double the storage and sendout capacity of Southern LNG’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Georgia and build a new 188-mile, 1.175 Bcf/d gas pipeline to move revaporized LNG to growing Southeast markets.

The so-called “Elba III Project could result in limited significant adverse environmental impact. However, if the project is constructed and operated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, Southern LNG and [Elba Express’s] proposed mitigation and the additional mitigation recommendations, it would be an environmentally acceptable action,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff said in the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the proposed facilities [CP06-470, et al]. Cooperating agencies included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

Separately, FERC also awarded final environmental approval to Gulf South Pipeline Co. LP’s Southeast Expansion Project that would provide producers in eastern Texas and northern Louisiana access to eastern markets.

Southern LNG seeks to expand its existing LNG terminal on Elba Island in Chatham County, GA. The project would involve construction of two new LNG storage tanks that would add 405,000 cubic meters of new storage capacity, construction of additional vaporization facilities to provide 900 MMcf/d of additional sendout capacity, and modification of marine facilities to accommodate larger LNG tankers and speed simultaneous unloading of two tankers.

El Paso expects to complete the Elba III terminal expansion in two phases, with phase one in service in January 2010 and phase two completed in December 2012.

Elba Express proposes to acquire an undivided interest in Southern Natural Gas’s Twin 30s pipelines that extend from Southern LNG’s Elba Island terminal to the pipeline’s system in Port Wentworth, GA; construct an approximately 190-mile, 42-inch and 36-inch diameter interstate pipeline that would run from Port Wentworth through several Georgia counties to interconnect with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line in Hart County, GA, and Anderson County, SC; and construct and operate a 10,000 hp compressor station on the new line.

Upon completion of the compression, the Elba Express pipeline would have the capability to transport up to nearly 1.2 Bcf/d of revaporized LNG to Transco, which supplies markets in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The pipeline will be built in two phases, with the first phase scheduled for service no later than July 2011 and the second phase targeted for in-service no later than January 2013.

With respect to Gulf South’s Southeast Expansion Project, FERC staff said it would have “limited adverse environmental impact,” provided “appropriate mitigation measures” are used [CP07-032].

The project, which would be an extension of the Gulf South system, calls for the construction of approximately 111 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline extending easterly from Simpson County, MS, to Choctaw County, AL, as well as three new compressor stations and associated facilities.

The extension would provide producers in eastern Texas and northern Louisiana an eastern market outlet for production from CenterPoint Energy Gas Transmission in the Perryville, LA, area.

Assuming approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Gulf South said it expects to complete construction and begin operating the proposed pipeline facilities in January 2008.

Gulf South, a subsidiary of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP, previously indicated it had commitments of 560 MMcf/d to be transported from the Perryville and Harrisville, MS, areas to Station 85 on the Southeast Expansion project.

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