Southern Star and NextEra Energy announce binding open season for Sooner Trails Pipeline

Aug 20, 2015, 09:00 ET from NextEra Energy, Inc.

OWENSBORO, Ky. and JUNO BEACH, Fla., Aug. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Star Central Corp. and NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC, an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) today announced the commencement of a binding open season for the Sooner Trails Pipeline project, which is expected to connect new receipt points in Kingfisher, Canadian, Grady, Stephens, Garvin, Carter, and Bryan Counties in Oklahoma to interstate and intrastate pipeline markets in Bryan County, Oklahoma and Lamar County, Texas. The companies also announced the signing of a letter of intent that outlines the potential terms of a joint venture that is expected to construct and own the Sooner Trails Pipeline. Under the letter of intent, each company would own 50 percent of the proposed joint venture. An affiliate of NextEra Energy would construct the project and Southern Star, through one or more of its affiliates, would operate the pipeline.

Subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval, the approximately 250 mile Sooner Trails Pipeline project will extend from Kingfisher County, Oklahoma and travel southeast to its primary delivery point in Lamar County, Texas with the development of the Lamar Hub. The Sooner Trails Pipeline is expected to provide up to 1.2 million dekatherms per day (Dth/d) and offer timely, cost-effective access to natural gas for expanding local distribution companies, industrial users, natural gas fired generation, and other regional demands. The Sooner Trails Pipeline will be developed under FERC jurisdiction. Sooner Trails has filed to begin the FERC pre-filing process in order to develop the project in a timely manner.

"The Sooner Trails Pipeline project will help alleviate constraints associated with the rapid development of natural gas from the SCOOP and STACK production plays and offer supply diversity to meet growing demand for clean, efficient natural gas in the region," said Jerry Morris, president and chief executive officer of Southern Star Central Corp.

"This is another exciting opportunity to invest in a high-quality natural gas pipeline that we expect to be fully contracted," said TJ Tuscai, chief executive officer of NextEra US Gas Assets. "We expect the new Sooner Trails Pipeline route to support the physical takeaway capability and production growth in the SCOOP and STACK plays and provide new markets for shippers and producers across the region."

Southern Star invites parties interested in firm transportation capacity on the Sooner Trails Pipeline to submit binding bids between 9:00 AM Central Clock Time (CCT) on August 20, 2015 and 4:00 PM CCT on September 18, 2015. 

The binding bid(s) received during this open season will assist Southern Star and NextEra Energy in determining whether to pursue the proposed project and defining the final parameters of such project. If it is decided to move forward after evaluating the binding bids, Southern Star and NextEra Energy will, subject to FERC approval, install the necessary facilities to serve all or a portion of the requested capacity. If a binding open season is successful, Southern Star and NextEra Energy anticipate service provided through the proposed pipeline in early 2018.

Additional information regarding the project may be obtained by contacting Philip Rullman at (270) 852-4440 or Jim Neukam at (270) 852-4665. Interested parties may access Open Season information at: www.soonertrailspipeline.com under the "Open Season" tab.

About Southern Star Central Corp. Southern Star is a leading transporter of natural gas to America's heartland, with approximately 5,825 miles of interstate natural gas transmission pipeline in the Midwest and Mid-Continent regions of the United States.  Our pipeline system, facilities and almost 500 employees are located in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska, with our headquarters in Owensboro, Kentucky. It serves metropolitan areas in Missouri (Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, St. Joseph and Joplin), Kansas (Wichita, Kansas City, Topeka and Lawrence) and Oklahoma (Oklahoma City). Southern Star has a significant presence in Oklahoma, and has been a corporate citizen of this state for over 100 years. Our Vision is to "Be the Best Pipeline in North America."  Our employees are passionate about safety, being good and responsible neighbors and citizens, continuous learning and growth, and providing exceptional customer service.  Southern Star has been recognized as an industry leader in terms of pipeline safety and customer service, routinely ranking in the Top 3 in its peer group by the Mastio and Company Natural Gas Transportation Studies.  Southern Star is a locally managed private company. For more information, please visit Southern Star's website:  www.southernstarcentralcorp.com.

Caution Concerning Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements relate to management's plans and objectives for future operations, business prospects, outcome of regulatory proceedings, market conditions and other matters. Words such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "plan" and "objective" and other similar expressions identify some of the statements that are forward-looking. These statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to management. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. In addition to any assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with such statements, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in any forward-looking statement include, among others the following: future utilization of pipeline capacity, which can depend on energy prices and the prices for natural gas available on Southern Star's system, competition from other pipelines and alternative fuels, the general level of natural gas demand, decisions by customers not to renew expiring natural gas transportation contracts, adequate supplies of natural gas, the construction or abandonment of gas customer facilities and other factors beyond Southern Star's control; operational risks and limitations of Southern Star's pipeline system and of interconnected pipeline systems; our ability to raise capital and fund capital expenditures in a cost-effective manner; changes in federal, state or local laws and regulations to which Southern Star is subject, including allowed rates of return and related regulatory matters, regulatory disclosure obligations, the regulation of financial dealings between us and our affiliates, and tax, environmental, safety and employment laws and regulations; our ability to manage costs; environmental liabilities that are not covered by an indemnity or insurance; our ability to expand into new markets as well as our ability to maintain existing markets; our ability to obtain governmental and regulatory approval of various expansion projects as well as our ability to maintain and comply with such approvals; the cost and effects of legal and administrative proceedings; the effect of accounting interpretations and changes in accounting policies ; changes in general economic, market or business conditions; and economic repercussions from terrorist activities and the government's response to such terrorist activities. Other factors and assumptions not identified above may also impact these forward-looking statements. The failure of those other assumptions to be realized, as well as other factors, which may or may not occur, may also cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking statements.

About NextEra Energy, Inc.

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) is a leading clean energy company with consolidated revenues of approximately $17.0 billion, approximately 44,900 megawatts of generating capacity, which includes megawatts associated with non-controlling interests related to NextEra Energy Partners, LP (NYSE: NEP), and approximately 13,800 employees in 27 states and Canada as of year-end 2014. Headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla., NextEra Energy's principal subsidiaries are Florida Power & Light Company, which serves approximately 4.7 million customer accounts in Florida and is one of the largest rate-regulated electric utilities in the United States, and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. Through its subsidiaries, NextEra Energy generates clean, emissions-free electricity from eight commercial nuclear power units in Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin. NextEra Energy has been recognized often by third parties for its efforts in sustainability, corporate responsibility, ethics and compliance, and diversity, and has been ranked in the top 10 worldwide for innovativeness and community responsibility as part of Fortune's 2015 list of "World's Most Admired Companies." For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.

Cautionary Statements And Risk Factors That May Affect Future Results

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts, but instead represent the current expectations of NextEra Energy, Inc. (together with its subsidiaries, NextEra Energy) regarding future operating results and other future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of NextEra Energy's control. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, among others, statements concerning adjusted earnings per share expectations and future operating performance, and statements concerning future dividends. In some cases, you can identify the forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as "will," "may result," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "intend," "plan," "seek," "aim," "potential," "projection," "forecast," "predict," "goals," "target," "outlook," "should," "would" or similar words or expressions.  You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance.  The future results of NextEra Energy and its business and financial condition are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, or may require it to limit or eliminate certain operations.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following:  effects of extensive regulation of NextEra Energy's business operations; inability of NextEra Energy to recover in a timely manner any significant amount of costs, a return on certain assets or a reasonable return on invested capital through base rates, cost recovery clauses, other regulatory mechanisms or otherwise; impact of political, regulatory and economic factors on regulatory decisions important to NextEra Energy; disallowance of cost recovery based on a finding of imprudent use of derivative instruments; effect of any reductions to or elimination of governmental incentives that support utility scale renewable energy projects or the imposition of additional taxes or assessments on renewable energy; impact of new or revised laws, regulations or interpretations or other regulatory initiatives on NextEra Energy; effect on NextEra Energy of potential regulatory action to broaden the scope of regulation of over-the-counter (OTC) financial derivatives and to apply such regulation to NextEra Energy; capital expenditures, increased operating costs and various liabilities attributable to environmental laws, regulations and other standards applicable to NextEra Energy; effects on NextEra Energy of federal or state laws or regulations mandating new or additional limits on the production of greenhouse gas emissions; exposure of NextEra Energy to significant and increasing compliance costs and substantial monetary penalties and other sanctions as a result of extensive federal regulation of its operations; effect on NextEra Energy of changes in tax laws and in judgments and estimates used to determine tax-related asset and liability amounts; impact on NextEra Energy of adverse results of litigation; effect on NextEra Energy of failure to proceed with projects under development or inability to complete the construction of (or capital improvements to) electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities or other facilities on schedule or within budget; impact on development and operating activities of NextEra Energy resulting from risks related to project siting, financing, construction, permitting, governmental approvals and the negotiation of project development agreements; risks involved in the operation and maintenance of electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities and other facilities; effect on NextEra Energy of a lack of growth or slower growth in the number of customers or in customer usage; impact on NextEra Energy of severe weather and other weather conditions; threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism, cyber attacks or other attempts to disrupt NextEra Energy's business or the businesses of third parties; inability to obtain adequate insurance coverage for protection of NextEra Energy against significant losses and risk that insurance coverage does not provide protection against all significant losses; a prolonged period of low gas and oil prices could impact NextEra Energy's gas infrastructure business and cause NextEra Energy to delay or cancel certain gas infrastructure projects and for certain existing projects to be impaired, risk of increased operating costs resulting from unfavorable supply costs necessary to provide full energy and capacity requirement services; inability or failure to manage properly or hedge effectively the commodity risk within its portfolio; potential volatility of NextEra Energy's results of operations caused by sales of power on the spot market or on a short-term contractual basis; effect of reductions in the liquidity of energy markets on NextEra Energy's ability to manage operational risks; effectiveness of NextEra Energy's risk management tools associated with its hedging and trading procedures to protect against significant losses, including the effect of unforeseen price variances from historical behavior; impact of unavailability or disruption of power transmission or commodity transportation facilities on sale and delivery of power or natural gas; exposure of NextEra Energy to credit and performance risk from customers, hedging counterparties and vendors; failure of counterparties to perform under derivative contracts or of requirement for NextEra Energy to post margin cash collateral under derivative contracts; failure or breach of NextEra Energy's information technology systems; risks to NextEra Energy's retail businesses from compromise of sensitive customer data; losses from volatility in the market values of derivative instruments and limited liquidity in OTC markets; impact of negative publicity; inability to maintain, negotiate or renegotiate acceptable franchise agreements; increasing costs of health care plans; lack of a qualified workforce or the loss or retirement of key employees; occurrence of work strikes or stoppages and increasing personnel costs; NextEra Energy's ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions, including the effect of increased competition for acquisitions; NextEra Energy Partners, LP's (NEP's) acquisition of NET Holdings Management, LLC (NET Midstream) and other future acquisitions by NEP may not be completed and, even if completed, NextEra Energy may not realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions; environmental, health and financial risks associated with ownership and operation of nuclear generation facilities; liability of NextEra Energy for significant retrospective assessments and/or retrospective insurance premiums in the event of an incident at certain nuclear generation facilities; increased operating and capital expenditures at nuclear generation facilities resulting from orders or new regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; inability to operate any owned nuclear generation units through the end of their respective operating licenses; liability for increased nuclear licensing or compliance costs resulting from hazards, and increased public attention to hazards, posed to owned nuclear generation facilities; risks associated with outages of owned nuclear units; effect of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets on NextEra Energy's ability to fund its liquidity and capital needs and meet its growth objectives; inability to maintain current credit ratings; impairment of liquidity from inability of credit providers to fund their credit commitments or to maintain their current credit ratings; poor market performance and other economic factors that could affect NextEra Energy's defined benefit pension plan's funded status; poor market performance and other risks to the asset values of nuclear decommissioning funds; changes in market value and other risks to certain of NextEra Energy's investments; effect of inability of NextEra Energy subsidiaries to pay upstream dividends or repay funds to NextEra Energy or of NextEra Energy's performance under guarantees of subsidiary obligations on NextEra Energy's ability to meet its financial obligations and to pay dividends on its common stock; the fact that the amount and timing of dividends payable on NextEra Energy's common stock, as well as the dividend policy approved by NextEra Energy's board of directors from time to time, and changes to that policy, are within the sole discretion of NextEra Energy's board of directors and, if declared and paid, dividends may be in amounts that are less than might be expected by shareholders; and effect of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets of the market price of NextEra Energy's common stock. NextEra Energy discusses these and other risks and uncertainties in its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and other SEC filings, and this news release should be read in conjunction with such SEC filings made through the date of this news release. The forward-looking statements made in this news release are made only as of the date of this news release and NextEra Energy undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

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SOURCE NextEra Energy, Inc.



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