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FERC Starts Pre-Filing Process for Downeast LNG Project in Maine

January 30, 2006
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FERC last Wednesday approved Downeast LNG Inc.'s request to begin the pre-filing process on its proposed $400 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Robbinston, ME.

"We believe that beginning the Commission's review of this proposal prior to the receipt of your application will greatly improve our ability to identify issues early and address them in our environmental impact statement (EIS)," FERC staff said. Downeast LNG indicated that it plans to file its project application in September of this year. It expects construction to take three years [PF06-13].

The company has selected an 80-acre site on the south side of Mill Cove, where the St. Croix River meets Passamaquoddy Bay, for the project. About 30 acres will be developed. Downeast LNG is headed by former World Bank energy consultant Dean Girdis, who is partnering with Kestrel Energy Partners LLC, an oil and gas private equity investment firm based in New York that already has invested $7.5 million in the project. Maine was picked as the location for the proposed terminal due to the growing demand for natural gas by electric power generators in the state.

The LNG terminal project in Robbinston would be 22 miles from the Maritimes & Northeast mainline (M&NE), which brings gas from offshore Nova Scotia to markets in the northeastern United States. Downeast proposes to deliver up to 625 MMcf/d of natural gas to an interconnect with the M&NE system. "Accordingly, we encourage Downeast to work with M&NE during the pre-filing process to identify any additional pipeline facilities that may be needed to transport the gas volumes on M&NE's system," FERC staff noted.

Initially, the Downeast LNG project will consist of a single 160,000-cubic-meter LNG storage tank (possibly a second), processing equipment, a new pier and several small support buildings. Once built, the facility would receive one ship a week on average, carrying about 125,000 to 138,000 cubic meters of LNG, or about 2.6-2.8 Bcf of gas.

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