Oregon LNG granted DOE approval to export to non-FTA countries

The US Department of Energy conditionally authorized LNG Development Co. LLC (Oregon LNG) to export the equivalent of up to 1.25 bcfd of US-produced LNG for 20 years to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the US. The Oregon LNG terminal will be sited in Warrenton, Ore.

Oregon LNG plans to begin construction late next year for completion in early 2019. The project will include two 160,000 cu m storage tanks and a berth permitted to accept ships as large as the 267,000 cu m Q-Max class vessels. A proposed 85-mile pipeline would connect Oregon LNG’s liquefaction plant to Willams Northwest Pipeline in Woodland, Wash.

The US Energy Information Administration forecasts record US gas production of 73.29 bcfd this year, but the DOE noted as part of its review that it considered indications from Oregon LNG that the bulk of supplies for export through the terminal would come from Canada, not the US.

The DOE’s review considered the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts—as well as public comments for and against the application and nearly 200,000 public comments related to the associated analysis of the cumulative impacts of increased LNG exports—in determined that exports at the designated rate were not inconsistent with the public interest.

Federal law generally requires approval of gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the US. For countries that do not have an FTA with the US, the Natural Gas Act directs the DOE to grant export authorizations unless it finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

The Oregon LNG application was next in the DOE’s order of precedence and review of the application began before the department issued its recent proposed procedural change that its reviews and determinations occur only after completion of National Environmental Policy Act review, suspending its practice of issuing conditional commitments (OGJ Online, May 29, 2014).

DOE in March conditionally approved Jordon Cove Energy Project LP’s application to export LNG for 20 years from its proposed terminal near Coos Bay, Ore., to non-FTA countries at a gas-equivalent rate of 800 MMcfd (OGJ Online, Mar. 24, 2014).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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