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Puget Energy Gets OK to Import Canadian LNG

Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has obtained U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) authorization to bring in up to 1 Bcf annually of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in truckloads for a natural gas-fired electric generation peaking plant in the state of Washington.

As requested by the privately held Puget Energy's combination utility in mid-January, DOE said it approved the imports for two years.

Under the 1992 Energy Policy Act, "the import arrangement meets the public interest," DOE said in its Feb. 12 finding.

LNG imports/exports with free trade agreement countries are presumed to be in the public interest and are routinely approved by DOE.

While the authorization is for truck shipments totaling up to 1 Bcf annually, a Bellevue-based PSE spokesperson told NGI on Thursday that the peaking plant is unlikely to need that much LNG.

"The authorization is for spot LNG purchases to provide supply for our Gig Harbor peaking facility," the spokesperson said. "While DOE says up to 1 Bcf, the reality is that we would likely import no more than 20 truckloads each year.” DOE in its decision assumed the daily amount could be delivered 365 days a year, he said.

Canadian LNG is one of several options that PSE has for fueling its gas-fired peaking plant. The LNG supplies are only needed at the Gig Harbor plant; PSE also has the option of getting LNG from Portland, OR-based NW Natural or from a Williams' Northwest Pipeline Co. LNG plant in Plymouth, WA, the spokesperson said.

"There have been no truckloads imported this year," said the PSE spokesperson, who identified the LNG source as FortisBC's Tilbury facility in Vancouver, BC. "Typically, we'll fill Gig Harbor in the summer for use in the winter. There are no scheduled shipments at this point, and the key phrase is 'spot purchases;' this is just one of our supply options."

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