FERC issues EA for Cove Point LNG export project

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued its environmental assessment (EA) for the Cove Point LNG liquefaction and export project (OGJ Online, Mar. 14, 2014). The project is proposed by Dominion Cove Point LNG LP (DCP).

FERC concluded that “approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” It also reported that potential impacts would be reduced with the implementation of DCP’s proposed minimization and mitigation measures and the 82 additional measures recommended in the EA.

The project would enable DCP to export 5.75 million tonnes/year of LNG via LNG marine carriers that would dock at the existing offshore pier, FERC said. FERC also has prepared a draft general conformity determination (GCD) to assess the potential air quality impacts associated with construction and operation of the proposed project; the GCD is included as an appendix of the EA.

The proposed export facility will be within the 131-acre footprint of the LNG import facility, which has been in Calvert County for 40 years. No new pipelines, storage tanks, or piers are needed at the facility. The company needs about 50 permits and approvals before construction can begin.

Dominion filed notice for the prefiling process with FERC in June 2012, stating that it was planning to add export capability at its Cove Point terminal in Lusby, Md., in Calvert County on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Dominion filed the application, which now totals more than 21,000 pages, in April 2013.

The American Petroleum Institute said it welcomed the progress on the Maryland LNG export facility.

“The technology-driven revolution in US oil and natural gas production has opened the door to export opportunities that could create thousands of jobs in Maryland and around the country,” said Erik Milito, API director of upstream and industry operations. “The Cove Point project has been under review for nearly 2 years, and it has the strong support of Maryland voters who understand that it will strengthen the state’s economy, as well as America’s position as a major energy supplier to our allies around the world,” he said.

Milito added, “After the 30-day comment period, we urge federal regulators to quickly approve the facility, making it only the second LNG export project to have both Department of Energy and FERC authorization. With over 60 foreign projects already planned or under construction, there is a global race to build this infrastructure, and Cove Point could play an important role in securing America’s trade advantage as the world’s top natural gas producer.”

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