FGT expansion seen to have little environmental impact

Adding 820 MMcfd of capacity to Florida Gas Transmission Co.'s natural gas pipeline would have limited environmental impact, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's staff said Apr. 17.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 20 -- Adding 820 MMcfd of capacity to Florida Gas Transmission Co.'s natural gas pipeline would have limited environmental impact, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's staff said Apr. 17.

The FGT Phase VIII expansion, which the company proposes to build in Alabama and Florida, would include 483.2 miles of multidiameter pipeline, 198,000 hp of compression at eight existing stations, a 15,600-hp compression station, three meter and regulator stations and upgrade of two existing stations, and a regulator station, FERC's staff said in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS).

The proposed pipeline expansion would cost an estimated $2.455 billion and would go into service in spring 2011, assuming that it receives the necessary permits and approvals, according to FGT. The system is owned by Citrus Co., a joint venture of Southern Union Co., the pipeline's operator, and El Paso Corp.

FERC's draft EIS noted that the project would have limited adverse impacts and would be environmentally acceptable with appropriate mitigating measures. These include having more than 99% of the new pipeline use existing rights-of-way; implementation of resource or activity-specific plans, procedures, and agreements to protect natural resources and restore areas disturbed by the project's construction and operation; and appropriate consultations with federal and state land management and environmental protection regulators.

Horizontal directional drilling would avoid disturbances to a number of major and sensitive bodies of water along the route, including the Tampa Bypass Canal and Hillsborough River, and other water bodies in Alabama and Florida, the draft EIS indicated. It said an environmental inspection and monitoring program also would be required.

Comments on the draft EIS are due by June 8, FERC said. Commissioners will consider the staff's recommendations and a final EIS when they make a final decision on the project, the agency said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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