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Sempra Asks FERC to Okay Plans for Louisiana Gas Storage

San Diego-based Sempra Energy on Good Friday filed with FERC for a permit to build and operate its proposed 17 Bcf Liberty natural gas storage facility in Louisiana, part of its growing network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and related pipeline and storage projects on the Gulf and West coasts. Sempra would like to have the storage field in Calcasieu Parish, LA, operating in the second quarter next year.

The company said it is seeking from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the authority under Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act to operate the facility with market-based rates. The proposed facility will be in close proximity with two pipelines being developed by Sempra from the proposed Cameron and Port Arthur LNG terminals.

Liberty Gas Storage LLC will be located near Sulphur, LA, and will provide firm storage and related services to customers transporting natural gas in various interstate pipelines in the region, Sempra said in announcing its filing. The facility will have a maximum withdrawal of 1 Bcf/d, and a maximum injection of 500 MMcf/d.

"Liberty is ideally situated to bring high-deliverability gas storage to the Gulf Coast region, an area that has experienced tightness in supplies and increased price volatility," said George Liparidis, president of Sempra Pipelines & Storage, who promised that the new storage facility will provide added reliability and supply-demand balancing in various gas markets.

Sempra said that FERC has granted it a market-based operating permit for its Cameron Pipeline, which will transport regasified LNG from the proposed LNG terminal. The company also has an application on file for its Port Arthur Pipeline, which will transport gas from its proposed LNG terminal in Port Arthur, TX. An open season for the Port Arthur line is underway, with responses due April 4.

Sempra Pipelines & Storage acquired the rights to develop the gas storage facility from HNG Storage last June. It has two other merchant storage operations -- Bluewater (27 Bcf) in Michigan and Pine Prairie Energy Center (24 Bcf) in Evangeline Parish, LA. They are operated under Sempra's umbrella merchant operations, Sempra Global.

Sempra Pipelines & Storage, under the Global unit, operates 165 miles of high-pressure natural gas pipeline and storage facilities in Mexico and the United States, and it has permitted another 100 miles, while it is developing another 250-plus miles of pipelines to connect to major natural gas supply sources in the United States and Mexico, including its three proposed LNG receiving terminals that re in various stages of permitting or development.

Information on the latest gas storage project, Liberty, can be found at the project's web site, www.libertygasstorage.com.

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