FERC approves Sparrows Point LNG terminal, pipeline

The US FERC has approved, with conditions, an LNG import terminal and connecting interstate pipeline proposed by AES Sparrows Point LNG and Mid-Atlantic Express.

Jan 16th, 2009

Christopher E. Smith
Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Jan. 16 -- The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved, with conditions, an LNG import terminal and connecting interstate pipeline proposed by AES Sparrows Point LNG LLC and Mid-Atlantic Express LLC. If built, the terminal will bring 1.5 bcfd to the US Northeast. FERC will impose 169 mitigation conditions, incorporating all mitigation conditions recommended by FERC's environmental staff in the December 2008 final environmental impact statement.

Staff concluded that the Sparrows Point LNG terminal and pipeline project, with appropriate recommended mitigating measures, would have mostly limited adverse environmental impacts. FERC's staff said in the final EIS that the US Coast Guard's waterway suitability report for the project has "preliminarily determined" that additional recommended mitigation measures would be needed to make the Patapsco River, Chesapeake Bay, and territorial seas suitable for LNG marine traffic to the proposed terminal site and responsibly manage marine and safety risks (OGJ, Dec, 15, 2008, p. 22).

FERC also adopted the staff's recommended pipeline route variations, addressing conflicts in congested areas through the northern portion of the pipeline route in Pennsylvania where significant residential growth had occurred. FERC will require site-specific residential plans for about 160 residences located within 50 ft of the construction site.

AES plans to construct and operate the import terminal and related facilities at an industrial port setting at Sparrows Point, southeast of Baltimore in Baltimore County, Maryland. Sparrows Point will increase the number of ships transiting as commercial marine traffic in Chesapeake Bay by 5-7%.

The project includes facilities capable of unloading LNG ships, storing up to 480,000 cu m of LNG, vaporizing the LNG, and sending out natural gas at a base-load rate of 1.5 bcfd.

FERC also authorized Mid-Atlantic Express to construct and operate an estimated 88 miles of 30-in. OD natural gas pipeline, 48 miles of which would be in Baltimore, Harford, and Cecil counties, Maryland, with the other 40 miles in Lancaster and Chester counties, Pennsylvania, ending in Eagle, Pa.

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

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