FERC is scheduled to act on three major liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal projects -- one in the Gulf Coast and two in the Northeast -- and associated pipeline facilities at Chairman Pat Wood's final agency meeting on Thursday.
On the agenda for the Commission's June 30 meeting are the controversial 4.4 Bcf Weaver's Cove LNG import terminal project near Fall River, MA, and KeySpan LNG's proposed conversion of its existing LNG storage terminal in Providence, RI, to an import terminal, as well as ExxonMobil's Golden Pass LNG terminal project in Jefferson County in Southeast Texas [CP04-36, CP04-223, CP04-386].
Assuming the projects stay on the agenda, it's expected that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will approve the Golden Pass LNG and Weaver's Cove LNG terminal proposals. The agency said both projects meet federal safety standards and would have limited adverse environmental impacts (see NGI, June 6).
However, it's unclear whether FERC will give the green light to the KeySpan LNG terminal project, which passed environmental muster, but fell short of the current federal safety standards. Commission staff reached this conclusion in a final environmental impact state on the project, which was issued in May.
KeySpan LNG countered that its Rhode Island LNG conversion project meets federal safety standards. Specifically, it questioned agency staff's assertion that the company's existing LNG storage tank, which has been in operation for more than 30 years, must comply with federal safety standards governing new construction. It has asked FERC to reject staff's finding (see NGI, June 6).
Both the Weaver's Cove and KeySpan LNG projects have stirred considerable controversy since their inception, with local, state and federal lawmakers expressing a high-level of opposition to the proposed Northeast terminals over the years.
Wood indicated earlier this month that he wanted FERC to vote out four major LNG projects before he left the agency: ExxonMobil's Vista del Sol terminal, ExxonMobil's Golden Pass terminal project, Weaver's Cove proposed terminal and KeySpan LNG's conversion project. At its mid-June meeting, the Commission approved the Vista del Sol terminal in Corpus Christi, TX, making it the fifth LNG terminal project that FERC has approved since 2001 (see NGI, June 13).
With only a few days left to his term, the White House has not yet signaled publicly who will succeed Wood as chairman either on a temporary basis or permanent basis.
The $250 million Weaver's Cove project would have 4.4 Bcf of storage capacity, a vaporization capacity of 400 MMcf/d on average and up to 800 MMcf/d on a peak day, and the ability to deliver up to 100 MMcf/d by truck to local and regional markets. The project includes the construction of two 24-inch diameter pipelines, totaling 6.1 miles. Weaver's Cove is a subsidiary of Poten & Partners of Houston.
The KeySpan LNG upgrade, if built, would supply up to 375 MMcf/d of imported LNG to the New England region via the interstate pipeline facility of Algonquin Gas Transmission's existing G system. The facility also would continue to deliver up to 150 MMcf/d of vaporized LNG to the New England Gas Co. distribution system. KeySpan LNG signed an agreement in October 2003 with BG LNG Services to undertake the $50 million conversion project.
The proposed Golden Pass LNG project would consist of an LNG terminal and interconnecting facilities in Jefferson County, TX, with approximately 2 Bcf/d of capacity (2.7 Bcf/d peak) for delivering vaporized gas into existing intrastate and interstate pipeline systems. The proposed marine terminal basin would be connected to the Port Arthur Channel, and would include a ship maneuvering area, two protected berths and unloading facilities capable of accommodating up to 200 LNG tankers each year.
Other Golden Pass facilities would include five storage tanks, with a total working volume of approximately 975,000 barrels, and a pipeline system comprised of a 77.8-mile, 36-inch diameter mainline extending from the proposed import terminal to an interconnection with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line near Starks, LA; a 42.8-mile, 36-inch diameter pipe that would loop the mainline from the import terminal to intrastate American Electric Power's Texoma Pipeline in Orange County, TX; and a 1.8-mile, 24-inch diameter lateral that would extend from the mainline in Jefferson County to an interconnection with ExxonMobil's Beaumont Refinery Complex.
The project would be constructed in two phases and would be operational in the 2008-2009 timeframe, according to ExxonMobil.
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