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Miami 2017—Marcellus Natural Gas Heading to Florida, Part 2

The idea of using natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to generate power in South Florida would have been considered implausible or even unthinkable just a few years ago. But now it seems likely that by mid-2017 Marcellus-sourced gas will, in fact, be moving deep into the Southeast. Williams’ planned Atlantic Sunrise project will make its Transco mainline bi-directional as far south as Station 85 in southwestern Alabama. From there, Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy’s Sabal Trail pipeline will move Marcellus and other gas into central Florida, and NextEra’s Florida Southeast Connection line will take gas still further south. Today In the second of a two part series, we conclude our analysis of the transformational Atlantic Sunrise project.

As we covered in the first episode of this series, NextEra and its Florida Power & Light (FP&L) subsidiary are planning a new pipeline from Transco Station 85 in southwestern Alabama into Florida to provide additional gas-transmission capacity needed to supply FPL’s growing fleet of gas-fired power plants. More recent developments suggest the project—now known as Sabal Trail also will give FPL access to Marcellus gas. A quick ramp-up in Pennsylvania gas production—and upgrades to Williams’ Transco mainline and Leidy Line systems, among others—have resulted in Marcellus gas flooding the Mid-Atlantic states, and forcing back Gulf Coast gas that until recently had been the Northeast’s primary source of supply. Now, with the Atlantic Sunrise project, Williams is planning pipeline looping, compressor additions, and modifications to Transco’s mainline to enable Transco to accommodate southerly flow as far south as Station 85 (see Figure 1). Transco, as you will recall, is a 10,200-mile pipeline network whose mainline runs 1,775 miles from near Harlingen, Texas to New York City.

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