One Company Abandons its Plans for Bahamas Pipeline

Thu October 26, 2006 - Southeast Edition

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) A Texas energy company has abandoned plans to build an underwater natural gas pipeline that would have run from the Bahamas to Palm Beach County, after years of trying to overcome safety fears and environmental objections.

Houston-based El Paso Corp. said the company couldn’t find enough shippers interested in using the pipeline, faced unresolved environmental issues and feared the Bahamas government would never act on its application.

“Those things added together killed it,” company spokesman Joe Hollier said.

In 2001, the company proposed a plan to ship liquefied natural gas to the Bahamas, heat it back to gaseous form and send it through a pipeline to fuel South Florida power plants.

The decision not to build brought relief among residents who had organized to stop the project from going through their neighborhood.

The pipeline had also faced opposition from environmentalists worried about the impact on coral reefs. Although the pipeline would have gone under the reefs, environmentalists worried that the construction or an accident could damage them.

Two other companies are still pursuing plans for Bahamas-to-South Florida pipelines, both intended to go to Broward County.