A coastal Oregon liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project that is married to a 230-mile 36-inch-diameter pipeline to carry the supplies elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest and to California expects to make a formal filing to FERC in June. Jordan Cover LNG and the Pacific Connector Pipeline LP have nearly completed the pre-filing phase of the environmental assessment, the LNG project manager told NGI Wednesday.

LNG terminal and pipeline backers expect to have a draft environmental impact statement and report (EIS/EIR) within four months after filing and get a final permit to begin construction by June 2008, according to Coos Bay, OR-based project manager Bob Braddock, who said that much of the critical work has been completed in the pre-filing phase to expedite processing.

The cast of usual suspects is in place locally, including activists and environmental groups that adamantly oppose the plant and an equally vociferous support group of citizens and major businesses that want the jobs and economic benefits the project is expected to bring.

As a business opportunity, the three sponsors of Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, a limited partnership among Williams Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LLC, PG&E Strategic Capital Inc. and Fort Chicago LNG II LP, has picked up nonbinding interest from gas buyers and shipper for supplies of up to 1.5 Bcf/day.

Both the terminal and pipeline backers have been involved in the pre-filing work with all relevant state agencies, led by the Oregon Energy Department and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff in Washington, DC. Both companies must file concurrently for the formal FERC permitting process.

"In the pre-filing, we basically submitted all the content that makes up the EIS/EIR, and we went through three iterations of it with the state agencies and FERC, so over the past 12 months they have had a chance to ask questions and we have had an opportunity to flesh out the details," said Braddock, who provides on-the-scene project management in Coos Bay. "When we file in June with our final environmental report, the FERC will be obligated to file its draft EIS within 120 days. It is all supposed to expedite the process."

Local and state government and citizens have provided a lot of input into the process so far, although Braddock did not think this was going to head off the continued opposition from some groups. In Oregon, the state energy department is the aggregator of the various agencies that are in the review -- fish and wildlife, forestry, state lands, and environmental quality departments. The Oregon Public Utility Commission is not involved.

"We haven't really seen much of a change in the dynamics over the past year; the same voices are heard -- the majority of the people are open minded and then there are hard-core opponents who are smaller in number," said Braddock, noting that the local Sierra Club has assigned a full-time representative to the project for the next six months. Both safety and environmental issues are being raised.

In terms of supply, Jordan Cove backers are talking to a lot of potential suppliers of gas, but they are keeping those discussions confidential at this point and will do so until well into the third quarter, Braddock said. Coos Bay has been an economically depressed port for a number of years, and this project, along with a separate initiative to create a container facility in part of the harbor, are looked at as being an economic development project for the southern coast of the state.

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