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Liberty Withdraws New Jersey LNG Terminal Plans, Will Refile

Liberty Natural Gas LLC has withdrawn its applications to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal off the coast of New Jersey but says it has done so to avoid any regulatory confusion over a "substantially revised" project. It plans to refile its applications.

Officials with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard were notified of Liberty's decision in an April 10 letter from Daron Threet, an attorney with Washington, DC-based law firm Holland & Knight LLP, which is representing the company.

"Liberty has completely redesigned its project, including...scaling down its size from four buoys to two, eliminating the onshore pipeline, changing the project location and configuration to site the project exclusively offshore, and redesigning its construction program and techniques to substantially reduce seabed impacts," Threet wrote.

"Given these fundamental changes to the project, and in order to avoid confusion regarding the application and the substantially revised program going forward, Liberty hereby withdraws its current application. Liberty will submit a new filing once the new surveys and analyses are complete."

The Jersey City, NJ-based company had originally proposed building and operating a deepwater port 16.2 miles from the coast, in the New York Bight. The proposed port would have served LNG regasification vessels but would be fully submerged when not in use.

Liberty's original plans also called for a 9.2-mile onshore pipeline, which would have connected to a submerged pipeline connecting to the port. The onshore pipeline was designed to transport up to 2.4 Bcf/d of gas to markets in New Jersey, New York and other nearby regions. Interconnections with the Texas Eastern Transmission LP and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. were also planned.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie blocked licensing Liberty's proposal in February 2011 on the grounds that the project posed too great a risk to the state's 126-mile shoreline, as well as its tourism, fishing and shellfish industries (see Daily GPI, Feb. 9, 2011).

Liberty had first filed applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, MARAD and the Coast Guard in 2010 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 3, 2010).

Former proposals to build LNG import terminals off the coast of New Jersey include separate plans by ExxonMobil Corp. and Atlantic Sea Island Group LLC (see Daily GPI, Nov. 22, 2010; July 29, 2010).

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