By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, May 3 -- Newly elected Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) called on the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve a proposed LNG receiving terminal in the southwestern part of the state this year.
Blanco took office in January. She made her remarks at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Monday, where she plans to meet with various industry executives about wooing oil and gas investment back into the state.
"We're on the verge of developing new industry," she said.
Plans for Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass 2.6 bcfd onshore facility have been 4 years in the making, but state and company officials are hopeful construction can start early next year. If that timetable is realized, gas will be available for the 2007-08 heating season, Cheniere officials said.
Cheniere, Houston, said it expects natural gas prices still will be robust enough 3 years from now to justify the plant without tax incentives from the state, even though there is a growing number of LNG project proposals now in the works across the US.
To move the Cheniere project forward, FERC held a successful scoping meeting with local and adjoining community residents in March. "A very loud chorus of support was the message FERC took home to Washington, DC," a spokesman for the governor said.
Blanco told reporters that she has written FERC urging them to shorten the approval process so permits are ready by the end of December. She indicated that even with the faster approval process, she wants to ensure that "it gets done properly."
There currently is one LNG facility in the state, located at Lake Charles. She expressed no specific preference for the location of future facilities, predicting that the state may see both onshore and offshore plants.