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Oregon Bradwood LNG Takes More Time

Still well ahead of its competitors in the state, NorthernStar Natural Gas has taken recent action that will delay some of its site-specific preparation and operating permits as its awaits FERC's determination on its proposed Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Oregon side of the Columbia River near where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.

NorthernStar is still anticipating a favorable, but conditioned, decision some time in the fall from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and it expects to start construction by some time in the second quarter next year, according to a Portland, OR-based spokesperson.

Recent correspondence to both the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicated that it would still be several weeks before added information on the Bradwood project could be supplied. The delays are no big deal for NorthernStar, the spokesperson said.

At issue is a May request from the state environmental department, and NorthernStar now expects to be able to respond to the request by Sept. 30, according Gary Coppedge, senior vice president. As a result of the pending state environmental request, the Corps of Engineers has suspended its processing on the project until the data is filed with the state agency.

This caused Coppedge to formally ask the Corps to "temporarily suspend" the Bradwood application until the environmental filing is made, noting that the request "does not constitute a withdrawal of the pending application or a request to any other agency or entity to suspend or withdraw a pending application."

More recently (Sept. 2) Coppedge wrote to the Oregon environmental department to withdraw a pending request for a water quality permit and submit a new request for the permit, based on its pending Corps of Engineers application and other information on the proposed 1.3 Bcf/d LNG terminal provided to the environmental agency.

Coppedge said since the project specifications have not changed, the new application does not require repeating the public input process, and that he assumes the state department will be "able to prepare a draft certification decision for public comment within the [three months] that the [environmental department] previously estimated would be required following the submission of all requested information."

Action by FERC does not have to await the final state permitting, the NorthernStar spokesperson said. In local news media, NorthernStar's Joe Desmond, senior vice president for external affairs, said the company expects a two-week delay "with no overall setback in the overall project." The target is still to open its proposed terminal by the end of 2010.

A proposed Pacific Coast LNG terminal site at Coos Bay along the south-central coast of the state is just beginning its formal environmental review processing, and a third proposed site close to the mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon LNG's project, said earlier in the year it is on track to gain a final federal approval some time next year.

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