Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC?

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (“Sabal Trail”) is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Corp. and NextEra Energy, Inc.  For more information, please visit www.sabaltrailtransmission.com or www.spectraenergy.com.

What is the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline system?

Sabal Trail’s interstate pipeline system is a project that has been awarded by Florida Power & Light Company (“FPL”) to provide dedicated natural gas transportation services for their power generation needs starting in May 2017. This project would also enhance the availability and reliability of natural gas supplies in the Southeast region.

Where will the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline be located, and what would be its approximate length?’

Sabal Trail is currently evaluating several options for the pipeline path. Generally, the natural gas pipeline study corridors under review originate in Alabama, extend to Georgia and end in Central Florida.

What is the “study corridor” for the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project?

Generally, study corridors are established along the proposed routing options to determine the best possible locations for the pipeline facilities and potential workspace areas. The study corridors are typically 600 feet wide. However, once our field evaluations are complete, the pipeline corridor will be reduced to a much narrower width that would be necessary to construct the pipeline. Typically, this is approximately 100 feet.

What would be the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline’s capacity?

The Sabal Trail pipeline will be capable of transporting over 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day enough to meet the needs of over 4 million American homes annually.

What would be the estimated cost for the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project?

The preliminary estimates are in the range of several billion dollars; however, this could change, depending on final project scope.

When would the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline be in service?

FPL has requested that the project begin to deliver natural gas by a May 2017 in-service date.

What stage is the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project in now, and what are the next steps?

The Sabal Trail project is still in the early development stage, as FPL formally awarded the project to Sabal Trail on Friday, July 26, 2013.  Sabal Trail will continue to work with communities along the proposed route options to position the project to meet the schedule requirements.  These activities include engaging federal, state and local officials to inform them of Sabal Trail’s initial planned work in the study corridor areas. Landowners who may be involved will continue to receive letters and information about initial survey plans in their area. 

The survey study corridor will be approximately 600 feet wide, which would allow future pipeline route refinements, as necessary, to incorporate landowner-, environmental- and construction-related concerns. Currently, Sabal Trail anticipates survey work to commence in late summer 2013.  Once field evaluations are complete, the pipeline corridor will be reduced to a much narrower width that will be necessary to construct the pipeline. Typically, this is approximately 100 feet.

Who authorizes the construction of the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline and what kind of regulatory oversight will the project development have?

Sabal Trail has already begun the process of obtaining necessary regulatory authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency with jurisdiction over U.S. interstate natural gas pipeline projects. The FERC process and the permitting processes of other federal and state agencies will allow interested stakeholders multiple opportunities to comment on the proposed pipeline project.

The FERC exclusively authorizes the construction of new interstate natural gas facilities. FERC is also the lead federal agency responsible for conducting environmental reviews of interstate natural gas projects, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. In addition to its FERC certificate application, Sabal Trail will seek review from numerous other federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and appropriate agencies of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

How will the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline benefit the southeastern states, including Alabama, Georgia and Florida?

The Sabal Trail interstate pipeline will increase energy diversity, security and reliability to southeastern markets.

In addition, the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project will create significant jobs during planning, construction and development, as well as add capital investment and tax base to all three states.

What are safety measures for this project?

Sabal Trail is dedicated to the safe, reliable operation of facilities and the protection of employees, the public and the environment.

Natural gas pipelines monitor and control safety in many ways and use many different tools. Collectively, these tools make natural gas transmission pipelines one of the safest forms of energy transportation. Our safety programs are designed to prevent pipeline failures, detect anomalies, perform repairs and often exceed regulatory requirements.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) oversees the safety of interstate natural gas pipelines and mandates minimum requirements, from the design and construction to testing, operations, maintenance and emergency response. The new pipeline will operate in strict accordance with all federal and state safety requirements.

Sabal Trail will work closely with local public safety officials to provide them with a thorough awareness of our pipelines and pipeline safety.

Once the facilities are placed in service, we will implement operations procedures designed to monitor the pipeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we maintain the facilities per applicable federal and state regulations.

Where will the above-ground facilities be located?

Though minimal in number, above ground facilities are an important part of a mostly underground pipeline transmission system. Compressor stations will be strategically located along the route to push gas through the pipeline.

Initially, one compressor station will be constructed in Tallapoosa County, Ala., at the start of the pipeline and another in Osceola County, Fla., at the terminus of the line. An additional five stations will be added after the original in-service date. Additionally, valves, regulators, measurement equipment, communication towers and other components that enhance pipeline safety and performance may be seen along the route. These above- ground facilities are strategically placed and will be discussed with you should your property be affected.

What kind of input will affected stakeholders have in anticipation of the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project?

Sabal Trail will continue to communicate with public officials, permitting agencies and area stakeholders during the initial development process and will maintain open lines of communication throughout the project’s development. Landowners and other stakeholders will have multiple opportunities to provide input on the project during the permitting process.

Sabal Trail has also sent letters to property owners whose properties may be initially involved to inform them of the project and our need to perform surveys to collect information about their properties.

Later this year, Sabal Trail will host local public meetings for area residents to learn more about the project and ask questions, and we will provide advance notification to make stakeholders aware of these important events.

What kind of interactions will Sabal Trail have with affected stakeholders when addressing the pipeline alignments and the project’s overall economic and environmental impact?

The project’s experienced development team is committed to a comprehensive consultation and ongoing communications process with stakeholders to develop a viable pipeline route that mitigates impacts to landowners and the environment and meets or exceeds customer needs, constructability requirements and safety regulations. This process involves evaluating various routes and study corridors. Whenever possible, Sabal Trail tries to locate the study corridors adjacent to existing utility corridors – either electric transmission lines or underground pipelines.

We will seek opportunities to discuss the project directly with each landowner in small, face-to-face discussions. The survey activities (engineering, environmental and cultural resources) will help Sabal Trail obtain the necessary field data to further assess the pipeline alignments and address individual landowner concerns. These activities will be performed in a minimal amount of time and should not inconvenience any landowner.

What is the estimated environmental and overall economic impact of the Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project?

Sabal Trail is committed to protecting the environment. Wherever possible, the new pipeline will follow existing rights-of-way to substantially limit environmental impacts and effects to landowners. These development efforts are closely monitored by federal and state environmental agencies, requiring a number of permits, and we closely adhere to all applicable environmental standards to ensure we minimize our footprint.

Environmental aspects of the construction project are regulated by FERC, which will review all plans and conduct its own environmental study of the project.

What sort of local or regional benefits can we expect to see from a project of this size?

The Sabal Trail interstate pipeline project will create a significant amount of jobs during construction and add capital investment and tax base to Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

The proposed project will provide consumers and businesses with critical access to an affordable, new natural gas supply source that will:

− Invigorate economies, spur growth and ensure regional economic competitiveness;

− Enhance supply diversity, reliability and security; and

− Ensure clean-burning, affordable natural gas will continue to be available.