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Veresen Tries Again for FERC OK to Build Jordan Cove LNG, Pacific Connector

The Jordan Cove Energy Project, the on-again, off-again liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility proposed for Coos Bay, OR, and the companion Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, are on again after sponsor Veresen Inc. refiled applications with FERC.

The Calgary-based operator said late Thursday it had filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision for permission to construct and operate the 7.8 million metric ton/year terminal and the related 232-mile pipeline system that would carry gas to the facility from the Malin Hub in southern Oregon.

"Completing the pre-filing phase and submitting the formal applications to FERC is a major milestone for the projects," said CEO Don Althoff. "Our significant efforts to optimize the design to minimize its environmental footprint and accommodate landowner requests, as well as the support of our world-class LNG buyers, should result in the receipt of the positive regulatory decisions required to build Jordan Cove.”

Veresen had signaled in August that the refiling with FERC was imminent after the Commission last year rejected a long-standing application.Despite environmental protests, the operator secured Canadian gas supplies for the scheme in 2014 by obtaining a 25-year license from the National Energy Board to export 1.6 Bcf/d. However, FERC in March 2016 denied the first application, saying it failed to show that economic benefits outweighed adverse effects on the Oregon environment and landowners.

Veresen has since filled the benefits information gap by identifying LNG customers. Supply agreements have been announced with Japanese conglomerates -- the Itochu international trading empire and power utility JERA.

Veresen said it would continue to work with the community, tribal leaders, FERC and other agencies to advance the stalled project. The dual projects’ officials have conducted open houses, and FERC held a series of public scoping meetings in June to collect further public input.

According to Veresen, the application includes eliminating a 420 MW power plant. It also includes more than 50 route adjustments for Pacific Connector to optimize several water crossings to minimize environmental impacts using trenchless drilling techniques.

Total engineering, procurement and construction costs for the terminal and pipeline system are estimated at $10 billion. Additionally, the project is expected to generate around $60 million in annual property taxes, including $20 million from Pacific Connector in the counties through which the pipeline would traverse.

Veresen also noted the benefits for the workforce, indicating the project would require about 6,000 workers during construction and more than 200 permanent jobs once commissioned.

Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector have requested that FERC issue a draft environmental impact statement in 2018 and make a final decision on the project by the end of next year.

“This will position the project for a potential final investment decision in 2019 and an in-service date in 2024,” officials said.

“Jordan Cove has suffered from considerable opposition but now looks more likely to gain regulatory approval,” said Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH).

“Although it appears to be a more expensive project than others, it has the advantage of a lower shipping cost to Asia, potentially sourcing gas at a discount to Henry Hub and having 50% of its export volumes contracted.”

The total cost at $10 billion, or around $1,280/metric ton, “is double what a number of the U.S. Gulf Coast projects are targeting,” said TPH analysts. “We estimate that this will require a tolling fee $2/MMBtu higher than the U.S. Gulf of Mexico projects as a result.”

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