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Oregon LNG Columbia River Project Scrapped

Plagued by sustained local opposition, backers of Oregon LNG, a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project along the mouth of the Columbia River, have pulled the plug on the decade-old project to build a liquefaction terminal and connecting 87-mile gas transmission pipeline.

Local officials in the port town of Warrenton, OR, where it was to be built, and the larger Clatsop County over which a portion of the transmission pipeline was routed, never got behind the $6 billion project being backed by New York City-based conglomerate Leucadia National Corp.

Oregon LNG's decision comes a month after FERC rejected the Jordan Cove LNG project along the south-central coast of Oregon at Coos Bay. However, Calgary-based Veresen Inc. has filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a rehearing, claiming that they have lined up Asian-Pacific market interest in the project (see Daily GPI, April 11; March 14).

Peter Hansen, Oregon LNG project manager throughout the project's history, told NGI that the project had been terminated, but he offered no details surrounding the move.

Warrenton last week scheduled a consolidated public hearing for May 4 to consider permits being sought and appeals of other local decisions related to the project.

A FERC spokesperson said Monday that the agency had not been notified of the project's cancellation. Oregon LNG is awaiting a final environmental impact statement in the FERC permitting process (see Daily GPI, April 20, 2015).

Last year both Oregon LNG projects were targeted as part of a highly organized rally at the state capital in Salem. Opponents sought to get state officials to try to block the projects. A coalition called "No LNG Exports" sought to sway newly installed Gov. Kate Brown., who remained neutral on the LNG export projects.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and state elected officials have remained opposed to the LNG projects in their state, and Wyden told the Portland Oregonian over the weekend that he was "relieved" by the news that Oregon LNG was throwing in the towel.

He told the Oregonian that he shared concerns about the project having negative environmental and economic impacts on the area near where the river flows into the Pacific Ocean.

Local land-use applications had been denied in March, and Oregon LNG was appealing that rejection, which was part of the reason for the May 4 public hearing scheduled by the Warrenton City Commission.

Touted for its jobs and economic multipliers by its backers, Oregon LNG began 12 years ago as a LNG import terminal project, one of three conceived in the state, including Jordan Cove. It originated as a project of merchant power developer Calpine Corp. with Hansen as one of the founding partners.

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