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Corpus Christi LNG Terminal, Pipeline Project Get Final Environmental Nod

FERC has given final environmental clearance to Cheniere Energy's proposed import liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and associated pipeline facilities in Corpus Christi, TX, putting them one step away from being approved.

In the final environmental impact statement (FEIS), the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded that approval of the Corpus Christi LNG LP and Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline Co. facilities, with appropriate mitigating measures as recommended, would have limited adverse environmental impact [CP04-37, CP04-44]. FERC typically grants final approval of a project shortly after an FEIS has been issued.

Corpus Christi LNG is a partnership between Cheniere Energy and BPU LLC, an affiliate of Sherwin Alumina. The two companies formed the joint arrangement to build the LNG receiving terminal next to the Sherwin Alumina plant on the northern shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay. The partnership will own a 210-acre tract of land and will control 400 additional acres through permanent easements. BPU is contributing the land and certain development costs associated with the project in return for a 33.33% limited partnership interest.

Sherwin Alumina, formerly Reynolds Metals Co., has produced alumina near Corpus Christi for more than 48 years, and is a large consumer of natural gas.

The proposed terminal would have the capability to process 2.6 Bcf/d of regasified LNG. It also would have three LNG storage tanks, each with a nominal working volume of approximately 1,006,400 barrels. Cheniere Energy said it expects construction of the facility to begin in the third quarter of this year and be completed in three years.

The pipeline, which would provide takeaway capacity from the terminal, would consist of 23 miles of 48-inch diameter facilities, with eight interconnects with existing intrastate and interstate pipelines, including Texas Eastern Transmission, Gulf South Pipeline, Channel Pipeline, Florida Gas Transmission, Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The facilities also would involve the construction of three 30-inch lateral pipelines, totaling 0.8 mile.

In December 2004, FERC granted a certificate for the development and operation of Cheniere's $750 million Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, LA. With a proposed peak sendout of 2.6 Bcf/d of regasified LNG, Cheniere's Sabine Pass terminal is considered the largest of the three proposed and four existing U.S. terminals with FERC certificates. The Commission last week gave the green light for construction to begin on the Sabine Pass LNG facility (see related story).

This was Cheniere's second FERC-certificated LNG project; its first was Freeport LNG in Brazoria County, TX, which it owns with ConocoPhillips, Contango and Dow Chemical. Cheniere also has plans for other terminals along the Gulf Coast.

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