FERC has authorized construction of the Aguirre Offshore GasPort Project off the coast of Puerto Rico, a project of The Woodlands, TX-based Excelerate Energy LP and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a favorable environmental impact statement for the project in February (see Daily GPI, Feb. 20). The project is a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal consisting of a storage and regasification unit, infrastructure to moor the vessel, and a subsea pipeline to deliver the gas onshore. The facility will provide fuel to PREPA's Central Aguirre Power Complex. Fuel cost reduction and environmental improvements, such as improved air quality and reduced barge traffic in the environmentally sensitive Jobos Bay, are the primary drivers for bringing the project to Puerto Rico, according to Excelerate. Construction is estimated to begin during the first quarter of 2016 with an in-service date of the second quarter of 2017.
U.S. senators from Kansas -- Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both Republicans -- introduced legislation that proposes to allow states to regulate underground natural gas storage facilities. They claim the federal government has failed to properly oversee the facilities. Their concern stems from a 2001 natural gas escape and explosion at an underground storage facility in the state. "It's been over 10 years since we lost two lives to a gas explosion in Hutchison [KS], and the federal government is still nowhere to be found," Roberts said. "We need strong oversight in the storage of natural gas reserves, and in the absence of federal leadership, the state must be allowed to step up and protect its people." A 2009 District Court ruling determined that Kansas, through the Kansas Corporation Commission, could not monitor its own storage fields if the gas in those facilities is for interstate transportation. In Kansas, there are 11 interstate underground storage sites containing more than 270 Bcf of gas, according to the senators. The Senate Commerce Committee is set to debate the Pipeline Safety Act, which is set to expire in September. Roberts and Moran, a member of the Commerce Committee, said they will work to see that the Underground Gas Storage Facility Safety Act is included in the discussions. The pair have tried to advance similar legislation before (see Daily GPI, April 26, 2013).