Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) is considering boosting capacity on its mainline to provide additional firm service to Florida, the company said Monday. An open season for FGT’s proposed Phase VIII expansion in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida is under way through Feb. 15.

The expansion would include additional large-diameter pipeline and additional compression. Capacity turnbacks from existing shippers also will be considered. If the project moves forward and regulatory approvals are secured, it could be in service in spring 2011, the company said.

“Building additional looping on FGT’s existing pipeline system provides a very effective way to bring new gas supplies to Florida while minimizing the impact on land use and the environment,” said Bob Hayes, FGT chief commercial officer.

FGT cited statistics that say Florida’s population is expected to increase, driving up gas demand. Currently 85% of gas consumed in Florida is used for power generation, the company said. And natural gas could be leaned on even more heavily in the years to come as Florida strives to reduce emission of greenhouse gases (GHG).

Last summer Florida Gov. Charles Crist signed an executive order directing the adoption of maximum emission levels of GHG by electric utilities operating in the state that would equal the emissions levels of 2000 by 2017 and 1990 levels by 2025. By 2050 the emissions levels would have to be reduced by 80% of 1990 levels, the governor said. The emissions levels are similar to ones passed into law in California.

For information on the open season, contact Jack Boatman, (713) 989-2114; Jim Dowden, (407) 838-7080; Dan Swanson, (407) 838-7014; or Mike Taran, (407) 838-7007. Information also is available at www.panhandleenergy.com/fgt/phaseVIII.

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