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Coast Guard Issues Water Suitability Report for Downeast LNG

January 12, 2009
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The U.S. Coast Guard told FERC the waterway proposed for tankers to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Downeast LNG Inc.'s proposed regas terminal in Maine is suitable if recommended risk mitigation measures are fully implemented.

A letter of recommendation, issued by Captain James B. McPherson of the Northern New England Sector, said that when risk mitigation measures are put into effect by Downeast LNG, they will sufficiently mitigate the identified risks associated with LNG tanker traffic on the Passamaquoddy Bay Waterway. The waterway includes the U.S. and Canadian waters of Head Harbor Passage, Western Passage and Passamaquoddy Bay.

Head Harbor Passage is considered the most dangerous waterway in eastern Canada. The Western Passage is an inlet off of the Bay of Fundy just north of Eastport, ME. The Passamaquoddy Bay also is an inlet of the Bay of Fundy, between the state of Maine and the Canadian province of New Brunswick, at the mouth of the St. Croix River.

The Coast Guard's water suitability review focused on navigational safety and maritime security risks posed by LNG marine traffic and the measures needed to manage those risks, the agency said. The report was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to be used in its draft environmental impact statement on the Downeast LNG project.

The Downeast LNG project is expected to have a baseload sendout rate of 500 MMcf/d, with a peaking capacity of approximately 625 MMcf/d and an expansion potential of up to 1 Bcf/d. A proposed 30-mile pipeline would connect the proposed terminal to Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. The terminal is expected to receive LNG shipments every five to seven days in the winter and once every eight to 10 days during the summer.

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