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Sempra's Liberty Gas Storage Project Gets Environmental Nod

FERC has issued a favorable environmental clearance to Sempra Energy's proposed 17 Bcf Liberty natural gas storage facility in Louisiana that is designed to accommodate the expanding network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the southeastern United States, as well as traditional gas suppliers and customers.

"Approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment," staff concluded in its environmental assessment on the storage project proposed by Liberty Gas Storage LLC [CP05-92].

The company is seeking from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the authority under Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act to provide storage services under market-based rates. The proposed facility, which would be located near Sulphur, LA, would be in close proximity with two pipelines being developed by Sempra Energy in connection with its Cameron and Port Arthur LNG terminals.

The project calls for the conversion of two existing brine solution mining caverns to natural gas storage caverns, resulting in a working gas volume of 17 Bcf; the construction of a 1.3-mile, 20-inch diameter pipeline that would connect the gas storage cavern wells to a new on-site compressor station in Calcasieu Parish, LA; and the construction of a new compressor station in Beauregard Parish, LA.

Liberty Gas Storage's proposal also includes a new 23.3-mile, 30-inch diameter bidirectional pipeline that would extend from the on-site compressor station in Calcasieu Parish to one intrastate pipeline and seven interstate pipeline systems, including Florida Gas Transmission, Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Texas Eastern Transmission, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line and Trunkline Gas in Calcasieu and Beauregard Parishes.

The project has access to more than 8 Bcf/d of interstate pipeline capacity linked to multiple markets and is also adjacent to significant industrial loads that have been under increasing pressure to stabilize their natural gas costs, the company said.

When completed in mid-2006, the proposed storage facility is expected to have a maximum withdrawal capacity of 1 Bcf/d, and a maximum injection capability of 500 MMcf/d, according to Sempra Energy.

The Liberty Gas Storage facilities and services would meet the needs of local gas distribution, power generation, pipeline shippers and gas marketers, as well as existing and proposed LNG terminals that may be placed into service in the region, FERC staff said in its environmental assessment notice on the storage project.

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