Pipeline Plan Draws Gulfstream Ire
by Sara Kennedy The Bradenton Herald, Fla.
May 02, 2008
May 2--MANATEE -- Plans to build a proposed natural gas pipeline that would snake underwater from the Gulf, coming up on land at Port Manatee, are drawing fire from a company whose facilities would be necessary to accomplish the project.
Gulfstream Natural Gas System's pipeline in Manatee County would be the connecting point for a proposed new pipeline that would be part of the Port Dolphin offshore natural gas terminal set 28 miles west of Tampa Bay.
But Gulfstream contends that an offshore connection would be safer and would cause less ecological damage to Manatee County's fragile coastline, a company official said Thursday.
Gulfstream is worried that the pipe coming onto shore would damage vegetation and wildlife.
"Gulfstream welcomes new supplies of natural gas along its pipeline system independent of source so long as it meets our gas-quality specifications, and doesn't subject our pipeline or customers to unnecessary safety or environmental risks," said Chris Stockton, a spokesman for the company.
"In the case of Port Dolphin, we are concerned with the environmental impacts associated with the current construction plan. We believe interconnecting with the Gulfstream pipeline offshore would have significantly less environmental impact than attempting to connect with the pipeline onshore."
To allow public comment on the recent draft environmental impact statement, a public meeting and open house is scheduled for Tuesday at the Manatee Convention Center.
The proposed, $1 billion Port Dolphin natural gas terminal would convert liquefied natural gas from ships to a vapor and send it east toward shore through a 42-mile underwater pipeline. Under current plans, the 36-inch gas transmission line would make landfall on Port Manatee property and continue about four miles inland, where it would link with Gulfstream and TECO systems.
A number of technical issues would have to be resolved to allow an offshore connection, according to a draft environmental impact study issued last month evaluating the Port Dolphin project.
The Port Dolphin proposal to connect pipelines on land is pretty standard practice, argued German Castro, project manager for the Port Dolphin project, who added that his company wants to avoid as much environmental damage as possible.
"Consistent with Hoegh LNG's corporate policies, Port Dolphin is continuously taking action to minimize/avoid its potential impacts," he said.
Steve Tyndal, senior trade development and special projects director for Port Manatee, said the matter is up to the two companies and federal regulators to resolve.
Tyndal said the port is in negotiations with Port Dolphin about the possibility of a long term business relationship. He declined to elaborate.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Bradenton Herald, Fla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Port Dolphin Project
Port Dolphin Energy LLC (subsidiary of Hoegh LNG AS)
offshore Tampa Bay, FL United States