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Coast Guard: Coos Bay Not Suitable for Jordan Cove LNG Project

July 14, 2008
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The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a waterway suitability report for the proposed Jordan Cove Energy liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, finding that the International Port of Coos Bay, OR, cannot currently handle LNG tanker traffic, but it believes this could change if certain navigational, security and safety measures are enacted.

"Based upon this review, I have determined that Coos Bay is not currently suitable, but could be made suitable for the type and frequency of LNG marine traffic associated with this proposed project," said Coast Guard Captain Frederick G. Myer of the Port at Portland. "Additional measures are necessary to responsibly manage the maritime safety and security risks" in the region, he said.

Some of the mitigation measures include limited tanker size (950 feet in length, beam of 150 feet and a loaded draft of 40 feet); a transit management plan must be developed with the Coos Bay Pilot Association, Escort Tug Operators, Security Assets and the Coast Guard prior to the first shipment; Automatic Identification System receiving capability must be established at the port; each LNG carrier must be escorted by two tractor tugs; a physical oceanographic real-time system must be contracted with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide real-time river level, current and weather data; simulator training must be provided for pilots and tug operators before the arrival of the first LNG tanker; emergency response planning in the region will need to be augmented; shore-side firefighting capability must be upgraded; in-transit firefighting improvements are necessary; and gas detectors must be installed along Coos Bay. The report also called for several security measures to be enacted.

"In the absence of the measures described...and the resources necessary to implement them or changes in Coast Guard policy upon which the resource decisions are based, Coos Bay would be considered unsuitable for the LNG marine traffic associated with the Jordan Cove LNG terminal," Myer said.

Jordan Cove Energy, a limited partnership between an affiliate of Alberta-based Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP and Energy Projects Development LLC, is seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authority to build the terminal at Coos Bay. The project, which faces significant opposition at the local, state and federal level, calls for the construction of a marine berth; two storage tankers with a total 6.4 Bcf of capacity; regasification and sendout capacity of 1 Bcf/d; an electric power plant; and a natural gas liquids extraction facility to recover propane and butane (see NGI, April 14).

Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP proposes to build a 230-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline to transport up to 1 Bcf/d from the proposed Jordan Cove terminal to markets in the region. The pipeline would interconnect with Williams' Northwest Pipeline near Myrtle Creek, OR; Avista Corp.'s distribution system near Shady Cove, OR; and the systems of Pacific Gas and Electric, Tuscarora Gas Transmission and Gas Transmission Northwest, all located near Malin, OR.

In June Jordan Cove asked FERC to issue a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) by the end of July so that construction of its proposed West Coast LNG terminal can be completed in time to attract long-term Pacific Rim supplies (see NGI, June 9).

The Jordan Cove LNG terminal would have to be available by either late 2012 or early 2013 in order to secure reliable long-term supplies of LNG, and construction must start no later than mid-2009, wrote Joseph B. Oris, vice president-commercial director of Jordan Cove, in a letter to FERC. To meet this timetable, a DEIS would have to be issued by no later than the end of July, he said. The proposed Jordan Cove terminal would provide natural gas to customers in the Pacific Northwest, northern California and northern Nevada [CP07-444].

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