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FERC Creates LNG Compliance Branch to Respond to Safety Concerns

FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher last Tuesday announced the formation of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) compliance branch within the Office of Energy Projects to further the agency's goal of safe and environmentally responsible construction and operation of LNG facilities.

The new LNG branch will be responsible for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's safety inspections and oversight of operating LNG facilities. The staff, which will include LNG engineers, civil and mechanical engineers and other experts, also will review final facility design and engineering compliance with FERC orders. Chris Zerby, a FERC staff member since 1975, has been named chief of the LNG compliance branch.

"We previously established the LNG engineering branch to centralize the Commission's LNG engineering expertise. This restructuring will better position the Commission as its inspection and compliance workload grows with the increase in LNG import capacity," Kelliher said.

Terry Turpin has been appointed acting chief of the LNG engineering branch, replacing Zerby. This branch is charged with conducting reviews and analyses of LNG proposals; preparing environmental, security and safety impact statements published for public review and comment; monitoring projects during construction; and annual/biennial inspections of facility operations. Turpin has been a FERC staff member since 1998.

Both the LNG compliance and engineering branches will work together and will coordinate their efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Transportation and other federal, state and local agencies to address safety and security concern related to LNG facilities.

There currently are 17 operating LNG import and peak-shaving facilities under FERC jurisdiction and subject to its inspection program, the agency reported. Five of the eight FERC-approved import terminals are under construction. There are 19 proposals for new LNG facilities pending at the Commission.

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