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Jordan Cove LNG Backers Considering Export Facility

Backers of one of the two proposed West Coast liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal projects still alive, the Jordan Cove LNG facility and connecting transmission pipeline at Coos Bay, OR, have been encouraged by players in the western natural gas market to change the project to an LNG export facility in the same way that backers of the Kitimat LNG proposal in British Columbia transformed that project.

Noting that it wasn't something the backers of the LNG receiving terminal had ever thought about, Jordan Cove Project Manager Bob Braddock told NGI that the export option will be up to producers, shippers and other potential customers of the proposed facility. If they are serious about an export facility, then Jordan Cove backers would consider it and perhaps pursue a combination import-export facility, Braddock said.

"It would take a whole new set of regulatory filings, and if we did it, we would still maintain the capability of being able to import," Braddock said. "We haven't set any sort of internal clock on this, but I would think we would make a decision on the export option by mid-year."

Geared for a 1 Bcf/d terminal capacity connected to the proposed 1.2 Bcf/d Pacific Connector transmission pipeline, Jordan Cove is a limited partnership between an affiliate of Alberta-based Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP and Energy Projects Development LLC, proposing to build the terminal at Coos Bay's international port. Fort Chicago and units of PG&E Corp. and The Williams Companies are partnering on the Pacific Connector project.

"Our position is that we are still pursuing an importation terminal; it isn't an either/or situation regarding exports," Braddock said. "Even though the import part might have to be put on hold by current market conditions, we will not compromise the capability for it to be an import terminal if we also pursue exporting."

Jordan Cove has conditional approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its terminal as does the affiliated Pacific Connector pipeline (see Daily GPI, Dec. 18, 2009), which would be needed for any LNG export project. "We'd have to go back to FERC with many of the same filings for the export process," he said. The project is expected to come to commercial fruition in 2015-2016.

While the export option is considered in the next few months, Braddock said Jordan Cove is continuing to wade through a thicket of state and local permitting processes, some related to satisfying the federal Clean Water Act, but done in a state-directed process. An appeal to the state Land Use Board of Appeal (LUBA) was heard March 7 and is expected to give its final decision March 29. Local land-use permitting agencies likely will have to make some minor changes, based on LUBA, Braddock said.

There is still a "biological opinion" that has to be completed by the National Marine Fisheries Service, and it is expected by the end of June, Braddock said. There is also an air permit for the proposed LNG terminal that is scheduled to be noticed any time now, he said. "This is the final step, and we're wrapping up our water quality certification as part of meeting the [federal] Clean Water Act requirements."

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