ChevronTexaco de Mexico said Thursday that it has been awarded a permit from Mexico’s Regulatory Energy Commission (CRE) for a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. The move puts the company one step closer to its goal of delivering natural gas to Mexico and the U.S. West Coast.

In addition to the CRE permit, ChevronTexaco received notice from the Communication and Transport Secretariat (SCT) — through its port authority — that the company is the winner of the public licensing round for an offshore concession to construct and operate its offshore natural gas import terminal.

“We are pleased to be awarded these authorizations from the Mexican federal government after participating in a comprehensive and rigorous permitting process,” said John Gass, president of ChevronTexaco Global Gas. “These important new milestones, together with the previously received environmental authorization from the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat, move us a step closer to being able to import essential supplies of natural gas to help meet Mexico’s long-term energy needs. It also provides a potential outlet to supply neighboring markets with any excess capacity.”

The proposed site for Terminal GNL Mar Adentro de Baja California is located eight miles off the coast of Tijuana and approximately 600 meters east of South Coronado Island. The terminal will be a gravity-based structure in approximately 65 feet of water.

The issued permit comes as welcome news following ChevronTexaco’s delay announcement in Oct. 2004, which was issued so completion of the facility could coincide with the operation of upstream liquefaction projects (see NGI, Oct. 25, 2004). The company said it anticipates that construction of Terminal GNL Mar Adentro de Baja California will begin in 2005 with commercial operations beginning as soon as 2008.

“We are pleased with our progress in the terminal permitting process,” said Carlos Atallah, president of ChevronTexaco de Mexico. “This is an important project for Baja California and the whole region to be able to meet the growing demand for clean energy. The terminal will be designed to have an initial capacity of 700 MMcf/d and can be expanded based on future demand.”

ChevronTexaco said the facility will be designed with state-of-the-art safety and environmental standards. The company added that it is committed to an open dialogue with the various representative groups of the Baja California community and welcomes their interest in learning more about the project.

Under ChevronTexaco’s plan, LNG will be transported from the Gorgon gas fields off Western Australia to the Baja California terminal using double-hulled LNG carriers. Terminal GNL Mar Adentro de Baja California will have the capacity to store 250,000 cubic meters of LNG, the company said.

Once regasified, the natural gas will then be transported to shore through a new underwater pipeline at a rate of approximately 700 MMcf/d. The pipeline will then connect with Baja California’s existing gas pipeline system.

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