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Annova LNG Permitting Progresses Despite Opposition, Weak Global Economics
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy is accepting comments through May 18 on an application to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) worldwide from one of three proposed facilities on the tip of Texas near the Mexico border.
Annova LNG’s application with the DOE includes details on the site and a nine-mile, 36-inch diameter intrastate lateral pipeline that would interconnect with intrastate Valley Crossing Pipeline LLC. The line would be built and operated by a third party.
Annova’s application is for 20-year, multi-contract authorization to export up to 6.95 million metric tons/year, slightly under 1 Bcf/d, from its proposed export facility on the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County.
Federal regulators in December issued a positive draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project and set an April 19 deadline for its final EIS. Project developers expect to make a final investment decision by the end of the year.
The Annova project would be part of a second wave of gas export projects in the United States, most of which are to be sited near the Texas and Louisiana coasts. With two other planned liquefaction facilities proposed in Brownsville, public opposition has been growing in the city, which is minutes from the beaches of South Padre Island and near the Mexican border.
Environmental coalition Save RGV, aka Save the Rio Grande Valley, was granted status in January to intervene in a permit application for the proposed Texas LNG Brownsville LLC export terminal, which it called a “threat to the health and safety of our community.”
Meanwhile, global LNG prices have sunk to multi-year lows in recent weeks, providing another headwind for export projects not yet off the ground. “In recent weeks, Asian and European LNG prices have plummeted below the $5 mark, which — when factoring in transport costs — appears to put shipments from the U.S. out of the money,” Genscape Inc. senior natural gas analyst Rick Margolin said.
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