September 24, 2008

Tulsa-Based Williams Boosts NG Transmission Capacity into Fla.

By Kirby Lee Davis

Williams plans to boost Transco southbound natural gas transmission capacity in Alabama and Florida by 253,500 dekatherms.

The Tulsa-based natural gas giant filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a $37 million project to build a 9,470-horsepower compressor facility at Transco's Station 85 near Butler, Ala., the company reported Monday.

While this represents a small boost to the 10,500-mile Transco system, which also is expanding in other sections of its run from south Texas to New York City, the Station 85 project promises a strong boon to another expanding Williams pipeline, the 700-mile Gulfstream Natural Gas System running from the Mobile, Ala., area to south Florida.

That six-year-old joint venture with Spectra Energy uses one compression station to handle up to 1.1 billion cubic feet per day.

Monday's application to FERC would add year-round transportation capacity on the Mobile Bay Lateral from Transco's mainline to its interconnect with Gulfstream in Coden, Ala.

It also will allow the lateral to maintain its current northbound capacity, said Phil Wright, president of Williams' natural gas pipeline business.

That would benefit Williams' proposed 85 North Expansion project, to provide up to 250,000 dekatherms of new daily capacity from Station 85 to delivery points in North Carolina and Virginia.

Last week Transco started a non-binding open season on that project through Oct. 31. Its results will determine the facilities and costs associated with 85 North. FERC willing, that would go online in May 2011.

Two other Gulfstream projects could benefit from this increased southbound capacity.

This month Gulfstream is scheduled to bring 17.8 miles of 20- inch pipeline online to provide 155,000 dekatherms of natural gas daily to Progress Energy's Bartow Power Plant in Pinellas County, Fla.

Last month Gulfstream was scheduled to start up about 35 miles of new pipe in Martin and Palm Beach counties. This would supply up to 345,000 dekatherms per day to Florida Power and Light Co.'s West County Energy Center.

"Obviously Florida is a state that is going to see growing demand going forward," said Jim Carnett, senior portfolio manager with Fredric E. Russell Investment Management Co. of Tulsa. "Williams is positioning themselves for further growth."

If FERC approves the Transco application, this new service with the Mobile Bay South project could start up in the second quarter of 2010.

"Combined with our Station 85 North expansion, the Mobile Bay South project creates over half a billion cubic feet of take-away capacity from Station 85 to downstream markets," said Wright.

Originally published by Kirby Lee Davis.

(c) 2008 Journal Record - Oklahoma City. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.