News Release
July 09, 1999


HOUSTON – Duke Energy today unveiled plans to build, own and operate the Sawgrass Energy Transmission System – a major interstate natural gas pipeline project that will supply energy markets in the Southeast.

The Sawgrass system will have a capacity of about 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas and will begin near Coden, Ala., cross southern Mobile Bay and continue into the Florida Panhandle and down the peninsula. It will cost approximately $1.3 billion and is planned to be in service by 2003. Customers will include electric generation facilities, as well as large industrial and gas distribution customers.

The pipeline is expected to bring numerous benefits to Alabama and Florida, including support for the development of a competitive electricity market. "Certainly some of the larger benefits to both states are the security and competition that result from the addition of a new transportation system and the environmental advantages natural gas brings to the area," said Robert Evans, president of Duke Energy Southeast Pipeline Corporation, the Duke Energy unit developing the Sawgrass project.

"The Mobile Bay region and communities throughout Florida can be assured that Duke Energy is committed to thoroughly reviewing all aspects of the project for environmental compatibility," Evans continued.

Over the next several months, Duke Energy engineers will begin detailed route analysis in order to build the pipeline in the most environmentally friendly manner possible. The selection of an on-shore route will provide the greatest benefit to Alabama and Florida consumers by maximizing natural gas availability to all markets, thereby stimulating further growth.

"Florida faces a constantly growing need for more electric power," Evans said. "Natural gas represents the cleanest, most cost-efficient fuel source for Florida generating plants to meet this rapidly growing need." Based on the most recent estimates released by the state Public Service Commission, Florida’s projected need for new generating capacity over the next decade has risen another 20 percent above numbers projected in late 1997, making it the fastest growing market in the nation.

Duke Energy has had discussions with several potential customers, and the Sawgrass project has a committed load of approximately 250 million cubic feet per day from Duke Energy North America, Duke Energy’s wholesale power generation development business unit.

"Duke Energy intends to safely and reliably transport natural gas to as many gas-fired power projects as possible, while bringing supply competition to certain Alabama and Florida industrial customers, local distribution companies and other high-volume users that currently have access only to a single interstate natural gas pipeline," Evans said.

Duke Energy companies are recognized leaders in the interstate transportation of natural gas, having constructed, owned and operated major transmission systems for more than 60 years.

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) is a global energy company with more than $26 billion in assets. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the company reaches into more than 50 countries, producing energy, transporting energy, marketing energy and providing energy services. In the United States, Duke Energy companies provide electric service to approximately two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina; operate interstate pipelines that deliver natural gas to various regions of the country; and are leading marketers of electricity, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at:

Contact: John P. Barnett
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