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Third Oregon LNG Project Makes FERC Filing

A third proposal for a liquefied natural (LNG) receiving terminal in Oregon was made to FERC Friday with a proposal by Oregon LNG, successor to the original Calpine Corp. project near the mouth of the Columbia River near Astoria, OR. The Vancouver, WA-based firm received approval last year to go through extensive federal pre-filing for its project, which is also backing a connecting 36-inch-diameter, 120-mile pipeline into the Portland, OR, metropolitan area.

Banking on having market advantages from its geographical location on the Skipanon Peninsula, Oregon LNG's backers said with the filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) now complete they intend to begin another round of negotiation with potential capacity customers (up- and downstream shippers), and they anticipate FERC's draft environmental impact statement (EIS) to be out in the first quarter next year, with a final EIS by mid-2009.

Oregon LNG CEO Peter Hansen began the now $1.3 billion project in 2004 as the head of western development for Calpine, and then following the power plant developer's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in late 2005 he led a small group of management to purchase the development rights, along with a major publicly held funding partner, Leucadia National Corp., a New York City-based diversified holding company.

Hansen said that Friday's FERC filing demonstrates the project is "moving ahead on schedule with the approvals process and, ultimately toward project completion." The FERC filing "further demonstrates the project's feasibility," he said, although one of his senior management partners, Senior Vice President Mohammed Alrai, told NGI Friday the proposed LNG tolling facility will not move ahead with financing and construction until it has long-term contracts from producers, marketers, utilities and end-users. That he expects to happen in 2010 when the environment on Wall Street is expected to be better.

"From the beginning, our approach has been different," Hansen said. "We focused on securing local approvals first, and then moved to the federal process, and as a result Oregon LNG is the only LNG project in Oregon that has received its land-use approvals and successfully completed the appeals process."

Oregon LNG claims its site to the ocean-side of the Astoria Bridge, a four-mile expanse over the mouth of the Columbia River that links Washington and Oregon, is ideal from a shipping standpoint because there is little or no navigation of the river required. The site was taken over for LNG development in 2004 (under Calpine) and at the time had to go through what Hansen called a "comprehensive plan" for the zoning change.

Hansen said the zoning for Oregon LNG's site is "an outright committed use for LNG." With most local permits in hand and "a very supportive local government" in Warrenton, OR, he said he feels that his project can make up lost ground relative to the other two proposed Oregon LNG projects(Bradwood Landing and Jordan Cove).

The proposed Oregon LNG receiving terminal will be designed for 1 Bcf/d capacity and 1.5 Bcf/d peak-demand capacity. It will include a receiving dock for LNG ships carrying up to 266,000 cubic meters of LNG and will have three 160,000-cubic-meter above ground storage tanks.

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