Federal and state agencies have deemed complete Clearwater Port LLC's deepwater port license application to build a 1.2 Bcf/d offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, developer NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. said last Tuesday.

The determination by the California State Lands Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration initiates preparation of the agencies' joint draft environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (DEIS/EIR), a comprehensive assessment of the project that is required by state and federal law, the Houston-based company said.

Clearwater Port expects the DEIS/EIR report to be issued for public comment in the spring of 2008. If the application review proceeds on schedule, Clearwater Port said deliveries of revaporized natural gas to California consumers could begin as early as 2011.

The Clearwater project, which would be located about 13 miles off the coast of Oxnard in Ventura County, CA, calls for the conversion of an existing offshore oil drilling platform into a terminal for the regasification of LNG. The platform would be connected to Southern California Gas Co.'s (SoCalGas) pipeline network and storage infrastructure through a 28-mile pipeline alongside an existing undersea pipeline corridor.

The proposed terminal will have a sendout rate of 1.2 Bcf/d on average, reaching 1.4 Bcf/d during peak demand. No storage facilities will be constructed to hold LNG. As a result, the LNG delivered to Clearwater Port will be immediately unloaded, revaporized and sent through to SoCalGas's system, which serves Ventura County and other areas in California, the company said.

"We believe our innovative approach to converting an existing offshore oil platform into a safe, modern LNG receiving terminal conforms to the California Coastal Act's principle of reusing existing infrastructure," said NorthernStar CEO William "Si" Garrett.

Local regulators recently gave a favorable recommendation to a second NorthernStar project, the Bradwood Landing LNG project, in Oregon (see related story).

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