El Paso Expands Pipeline Capacity

El Paso Corporation announced that it is increasing the capacity of its proposed pipeline project from 800 million cubic feet per day to 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to transport natural gas from the Grand Bahama Island to Florida. The Seafarer Pipeline System, formerly referred to as the Bahama Cay Pipeline, will transport natural gas from the planned El Paso Global LNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal near South Riding Point on Grand Bahama Island to West Palm Beach, Florida. The 163-mile, 26-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled to be operational in the summer of 2005.

The project is divided into two sections since it crosses the United States Exclusive Economic Zone boundary in the Atlantic Ocean. An El Paso subsidiary will construct and own an 88-mile section of the pipeline from the LNG terminal on Grand Bahama Island to the international boundary. Another El Paso subsidiary will develop and operate the remaining 75-mile section of the pipeline, which will connect to the Florida Gas Transmission pipeline system and continue to a delivery point in Martin County, Florida.

"We are continuing to develop this project because of the strong market response received during our recent open season," said E. J. Holm, chief executive officer of El Paso's Eastern Pipeline Group. "This pipeline will give Florida wholesale market customers an option for new, competitively priced natural gas and serve this region's growing demand for an environmentally clean-burning fuel source."

This project will help supply the fuel requirements of the rapidly growing power generation market in Florida. Florida's installed natural gas-fired power generation facilities are projected to increase by over 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2005, based on the 2001 Site Ten-Year Plans filed by Florida's generation utilities. This projected demand for power fueled by clean-burning natural gas will require over 2 Bcf/d of additional delivery capacity and natural gas supply.