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Pembina Putting Money on U.S. Approving Jordan Cove LNG in 2019

Pembina Pipeline Corp. placed a C$100 million ($75 million) bet Monday that U.S. approval will be granted in 2019 for the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal that would be sited on the Oregon coast.

FERC issued an environmental schedule to approve for Jordan Cove in September, with a ruling set by next November. If it is sanctioned, a target of 2024 has been set to begin Pacific tanker sailings, the Calgary-based firm said.

While awaiting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision, Pembina said project spending would focus on closing sales contracts, engineering, acquiring rights-of-way and securing permits for the LNG terminal’s proposed supply pipeline by Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP, which plans to build a 232-mile, 36-inch diameter gas system.

Partners also are being sought to reduce Pembina’s project ownership and share of costs from 100% down to a “prudent” 40-60%, according to its budget plans. The total Oregon investment is forecast to reach about US$10 billion.

“This process to find partners is expected to commence upon securing binding offtake agreements, with a completion objective in the third quarter of 2019 and is intended to reduce the capital, operating, and other project risks,” said the company.

Pembina acquired Jordan Cove in a May 2017 takeover of the project’s creator, Veresen Inc., for C$9.7 billion ($7.3 billion). The proposal had a long pedigree by the time of the merger.

The Oregon LNG and pipeline proposals were born as import plans in 2005, before unconventional gas production swelled U.S. supplies. FERC approved the Oregon facilities for imports in 2009, but the rapid onshore gas development prevented construction. The project changed into an export plan in 2013.

Jordan Cove has held a 25-year export license from the National Energy Board (NEB) to fill all 1.6 Bcf/d of its intended capacity with Canadian gas since 2015. Evolving plans now call for an international blend from the United States as well as Canada.

The current Jordan Cove LNG proposal also revised the original export facilities design for a second attempt to obtain U.S. approval. The project was overhauled after Oregon community and environmental opposition led to rejection by FERC in March 2016.

Last May the U.S. Coast Guard gave the green light to shipping at the export terminal.

Despite its checkered past, the Oregon project stands out as an attraction that contributed to Pembina’s Veresen takeover. At the time Pembina said Jordan Cove was “the most advanced LNG export project on the West Coast of North America and can compete with LNG from brownfield expansion in the Gulf of Mexico on a delivered to Tokyo basis.”

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