Alabama Gov. Robert Riley waited until it was down to the wire on his deadline to approve a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal offshore Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

The 1.4 Bcf/d terminal proposed by Norway's TORP Terminal LP got the governor's OK Tuesday. The Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal is slated to be 63 miles offshore, south of Fort Morgan, AL. Riley had until Tuesday to decide whether to approve the project after the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration granted him a 90-day extension to consider it (see Daily GPI, July 9).

The project is to use a floating regasification ship with no permanent offshore structures, TORP said.

"The Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal has gathered unprecedented support from local and state officials, business and community leaders and environmental groups," said TORP Terminal CEO Joe Berno.

The company had originally proposed using an "open-loop" system that would have used seawater from the GOM to warm the LNG for vaporization. Riley has opposed applications by companies that planned to use the open-loop system because of the negative impact on Alabama's marine resources, his office said.

In October 2008 Riley shot down TORP's earlier proposal for the project (see Daily GPI, Oct. 13, 2008). The company at the time withdrew its application but later resubmitted an application for a redesigned project that would use "closed-loop" ambient air technology for vaporization, which is favored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"With this agreement we're able to protect and enhance our environment, improve our economy with 250 new jobs, and provide an important alternative source of natural gas for Alabama," Riley said.

Casi Callaway, executive director of Mobile Baykeeper, an environmental group with more than 4,000 members, said the change to the closed-loop system alleviates the organization's concerns about the project.

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