The proposed Buccaneer Pipeline, which is seeking approval underoptional-certificate procedures, should be held to the same highstandards spelled out in FERC’s new policy statement that all majorpipeline construction proposals are, says Florida Gas Transmission(FGT).

FERC exempted optional-certificate (OC) pipelines, such asBuccaneer, from the requirements of the policy statement becausesponsors bear the economic risks for these projects. But FGTdoesn’t believe Buccaneer, a potential competitor in a market longdominated by FGT, should be so easily excused.

“Projects submitted for approval under the Commission’s OCprocedures raise the same public policy concerns that theCommission has identified for projects under traditional Section7(c) procedures. These concerns include ‘the possibility ofoverbuilding, the avoidance of unnecessary disruption of theenvironment, and the unneeded exercise of eminent domain,'” FGTsaid in a filing at FERC [CP00-16].

“The compelling reasons supporting the standards set forth inthe statement of policy do not disappear simply because anapplicant uses different application procedures or accepts economicrisk. The public interest concerns arise regardless of the type ofapplication submitted,” FGT told the Commission.

“Unnecessary overbuilding is unnecessary overbuilding,regardless of the type of procedures followed,” FGT said.

FGT further criticized Buccaneer for failing to back up itsproject 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 inMobile County, AL, and would cross the Gulf of Mexico, comingashore on the west coast of Florida just north of Tampa. There itplans to branch out eastward to serve the expanding gas-firedgeneration market in the Sunshine State.

Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S. Inc. and Mobil OilExploration and Producing Southeast (MOEPSI) said that althoughthey were interested in any project that would provide additionalaccess to Florida markets for their Mobile Bay gas production, theywere concerned Buccaneer could foreclose Mobil’s ability to use thecorridor to construct a pipeline to transport sour gas productionto its Mary Ann sweetening facility. Buccaneer’s proposed routewould also cross a pipeline corridor known as Portersville Bay,which MOEPSI said it would need for the pipeline.

“Representatives of MOEPSI and Buccaneer have met in recentweeks to discuss ways in which to mitigate the potentiallly seriousconsequences of Buccaneer’s use of MOEPSI’s already-busy corridor”and several issues still must be resolved,” the Mobil companiestold FERC.

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