The major proponents and business backers of California and North Baja California liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminals have joined a business-backed coalition that hired Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief political advisor to run a $1 million public relations/advertising campaign. Their aim is to win support from the general public for the import of new gas supplies in the form of LNG.

Mike Murphy, Schwarzenegger’s political guru, and his political consulting firm were hired to run the campaign, according to a report out of Sacramento in last Monday’s Los Angeles Times. The report quotes the chief lobbyist for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association as saying the campaign is part of a major business push to convince a skeptical general electorate that LNG is the only way for California to have adequate natural gas supplies over the next 10 years.

Among the firms backing the effort, according to the LA Times report, are: Sempra Energy, which has a LNG receiving terminal at Costa Azul in North Baja that will begin construction early next year; ChevronTexaco, which has a proposed offshore North Baja LNG terminal proposal in the permitting stages; Mitsubishi’s Sound Energy Solutions proposed plant in Long Beach Harbor southeast of Los Angeles; BHP Billiton, the Australian firm proposing to build an offshore LNG receiving terminal 14 miles off of Oxnard, along the Southern California coast; and Houston-based Crystal Energy, which proposes to transform an existing idle offshore oil platform off the coast of Oxnard into a LNG terminal.

With environmental and consumer groups leading the opposition to the three proposed sites along California’s coast, “industry is getting ready to fight back, led by the California manufacturers and the California Chamber of Commerce,” the Times reported.

Energy advisers to Schwarzenegger told the Times they were maintaining “an arms length” distance from the industry-backed effort to avoid potential conflicts of interest, but an initial presentation by the Murphy consulting firm repeatedly quoted the governor’s campaign goals that support LNG imports. Advertising, the consultants said, “needs to change the face of LNG for the public,” according to the news report.

©Copyright 2004 Intelligence Press Inc. Allrights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republishedor redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without priorwritten consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.