FERC issues draft EIS for Oregon LNG terminal, pipeline

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 3 -- A proposed LNG project in Coos Bay, Ore., would have limited adverse environmental impacts that could be reduced substantially with several mitigating measures, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded in a draft environmental impact statement.

The draft EIS covers Jordan Cove Energy LP's proposed LNG terminal, which would be built 7½ miles down into the existing Coos Bay navigation channel on the bay side of the North Spit, and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP's proposed associated sendout natural gas pipeline, FERC said as it issued the document for public comment.

It said the proposed pipeline would extend 230 miles from the terminal's regasification facility to a terminus near Malin, Ore., where it would connect with pipelines owned by Gas Transmission Northwest Corp., Tuscarora Gas Transmission Co., and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. The pipeline also would connect with Williams Cos. Inc.'s Northwest Pipeline near Myrtle Creek, Ore., and Avista Corp.'s distribution system near Shady Grove, according to its sponsors.

FERC said it concluded the project may be environmentally acceptable for reasons including the terminal's final engineering design incorporating detailed seismic specifications and other measures to mitigate earthquake impacts, as well as mitigation impacts along the 230-mile pipeline route to address landslides and other geological hazards.

It added that the proposed terminal and pipeline plans to implement various mitigation plans to compensate for impacts on bodies of water, wetlands, vegetation, and habitats. An environmental inspection and monitoring program would be implemented to ensure compliance with all mitigation measures which become conditions of FERC's authorization, it said.

Other provisions
The proposed terminal would meet federal safety regulations regarding thermal radiation and flammable vapor dispersion exclusion zones, and appropriate safety features would be incorporated into the design and operation of the terminal and tankers which use it, according to FERC.

The proposed terminal's majority owner is Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP, a publicly traded limited partnership that owns 50% of the Alliance natural gas pipeline, which extends from northeastern British Columbia to Chicago, 42.7% of Aux Sable and Alliance Canada Marketing, which operates natural gas liquids extraction, fractionation, and delivery facilities near Chicago, and 100% of an ethane pipeline which serves Alberta's petrochemical industry. Energy Projects Development LLC, which is based in Colorado, holds a minority interest.

Subsidiaries of Fort Chicago, PG&E, and Williams hold interests in the proposed 36-in. connector pipeline.

The terminal would cost some $500 million to construct, according to information at the project's web site. It would include two 3.2 bcf storage tanks, 1 bcfd of regasification capacity, gas liquids extraction equipment, and marine facilities to accommodate LNG tankers with as much as 3.2 bcf of capacity, the sponsors said.

Assuming that the project receives final approval from FERC and other federal and state government regulators, construction would begin toward the end of first quarter 2009 with completion expected at yearend 2010, they indicated.

FERC said its commissioners will consider staff recommendations and a final EIS before making a final decision. It will accept comments on the draft EIS until Dec. 4.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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