A federal appeals court in Washington, DC, Tuesday rejected Washington Gas Light Co.’s (WGL) petition to review a 2008 order in which FERC tried to settle a dispute between the utility and Dominion Cove Point over the impact of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the distributor’s system.
In 2006 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an expansion project of Dominion Cove Point’s LNG terminal on the Maryland coast, which WGL challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The court at the time remanded the expansion order to FERC, saying it had not adequately explained its analysis of the safety concerns associated with the expansion.
In an order on remand in October 2008, the Commission said the Cove Point terminal expansion could not be said to cause unsafe leakage on WGL’s system if the amount of regasified LNG that would be delivered post-expansion was identical to the amount that was delivered pre-expansion (see Daily GPI, Oct. 8, 2008). FERC “limited the relevant post-expansion regasified liquefied natural gas delivery levels to [the] same amount of 530,000 Dth/d,” which was delivered to WGL’s distribution system pre-expansion.
“By imposing a post-expansion limit that matches the pre-expansion limit, FERC has satisfactorily ensured that the expansion will not result in an increased risk of unsafe natural gas leakage. We have considered Washington Gas’s other arguments and find them without merit. FERC has satisfied our remand order, and we deny Washington Gas Light Co.’s petition for review,” the court said in a terse four-page decision.
WGL challenged the 2006 expansion order in the DC Appeals Court on the grounds that an influx of LNG from Cove Point would aggravate leaks on its distribution system.
WGL reported more than 1,600 coupling leaks in 2004 when unblended regasified LNG was introduced into its system in Prince George’s County in Maryland, an area primarily supplied with regasified LNG from Dominion Cove Point. The utility, which serves parts of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, blamed the leaks on the chemical composition of the LNG from Cove Point and sought to block the terminal expansion (see Daily GPI, July 8, 2005).
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