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FERC Approves Creole Trail LNG, Pipeline Project for Pre-Filing Process

FERC has granted Cheniere Energy Inc.'s request to have its fourth proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, Creole Trail LNG, and an associated 118-mile, 3.3 Bcf/d pipeline system reviewed under the agency's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pre-filing process.

Creole Trail LNG LP has signaled that it plans to file its application by May 2 of this year, and has requested FERC approval of its project by early 2006. The Commission, however, said it may not be able to meet this "ambitious schedule," even with the benefits of the pre-filing process.

When Creole Trail submits its application to FERC, the agency then "will advise you of our projected dates for the issuance of draft and final" environmental impact statements (EIS), wrote J. Mark Robinson, director of FERC's Office of Energy Projects. He further noted that the Commission chose Natural Resource Group Inc. as the third-party contractor for the Creole Trail LNG project.

The Creole Trail terminal and associated pipeline are expected to cost $900 million and would be the largest receiving terminal in North America at 3.3 Bcf/d of initial processing capacity. It is planned for service in 2009.

Cheniere Energy also is the sponsor of the Freeport LNG terminal in Brazoria County, TX; the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Sabine Pass, LA; and the Corpus Christi LNG terminal in Texas. Both Freeport and Sabine Pass already have received FERC permits (see NGI, June 28, 2004, Dec. 20, 2004).

The Creole Trail terminal will be equipped with two unloading docks capable of handling up to 250,000 cubic meter vessels, four 160,000 cubic meter tanks with LNG storage capacity of 13.5 Bcfe and the ability to process 3.3 Bcf/d.

The proposed Creole Trail Pipeline will have an initial design capacity of 3.3 Bcf/d. It will originate at the LNG terminal and extend 118 miles north-northeast through Cameron, Calcasieu, Beauregard, Allen, Jefferson Davis and Acadia Parishes, where it will terminate near Rayne. It will be designed with potential interconnections to interstate and intrastate pipelines with more than 12 Bcf/d of transportation capacity.

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