FERC last Monday approved Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC’s proposal to build a pipeline to supply natural gas to a power plant in west-central Florida that is scheduled to be converted to gas.

The Phase IV project calls for the construction of approximately 17.74 miles of 20-inch diameter offshore pipeline that will extend from an underwater hot tap with Gulfstream’s existing 36-inch diameter line in the Hillsborough County waters of Tampa Bay to Florida Power Corp.’s 1,279 MW Bartow power plant in Pinellas County, FL. The Bartow plant currently operates as an oil-fired power plant. Florida Power plans to repower the facility as a gas-fired plant and increase its capacity by adding combined-cycle gas turbines.

Gulfstream, which is owned by Williams and Spectra Energy, also seeks to add a 15,000-horsepower (hp) compressor unit at its existing Station 410 in Coden, AL, and two 15,000-hp units at its existing Station 420 in Manatee County, FL.

Florida Power affiliate Progress Energy Florida Inc. has subscribed to the entire 155 MDth/d capacity of the project under 23-year term agreements. Gulfstream said it plans to place the proposed pipeline facilities in service by Sept. 1, 2008, when Florida Power begins testing its repowered Bartow plant. The proposed compression units are expected to be in service by Jan. 1, 2009, when Florida Power’s Bartow plant begins full operation.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Gulfstream’s request to roll in the $117 million cost of the Phase IV facilities in its next Section 4 rate proceeding.

With the Phase IV facility additions, Gulfstream’s certificated system capacity will increase to 1.232 Bcf/d.

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