The project manager of the Jordan Cove LNG project in Oregon indicated Friday that he expects to break through the federal permitting bottleneck by early May.

The multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has signed additional heads of agreements (HOA) and it awaits more federal action, according to Project Manager Bob Braddock.

“None of the participants want their names released at this time,” said Braddock, who did not indicate what nations the participants represent.

Jordan Cove is still waiting for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a permit for construction of the project, and the next key step is the issuance of a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) input on the DEIS is still needed before FERC can issue the whole draft.

“We now expect to see FERC issue its DEIS in late April or early May,” Braddock told NGI. “There is nothing more we can do at this point, as the provision of DOT supplied information is the bottleneck.”

On the brighter side, Braddock said he expects to receive conditional approval from the U.S. Department of Energy on a non-free trade agreement (FTA) license at the end of this month. It is in line to be the seventh such project to win a non-FTA export license, with Sempra Energy’s Cameron project having obtained an OK last month (see Daily GPI, Feb. 11).

Jordan Cove’s backer, Calgary, Alberta-based Veresen, last October signed HOAs with prospective customers in Indonesia, India and an unnamed “eastern Asian” nation (see Daily GPI, Oct. 18). A source close to the project’s planners in Oregon told NGI at the time that the deals could be worth more than $20 billion over a 20- to 25-year contract.

The prospective deals amount to more than the 1 Bcf/d initial capacity of the proposed Jordan Cove facilities, according to Braddock. The HOAs are expected to be turned into formal contracts by mid-2014, Braddock said.

Total costs of the Jordan Cove project are forecast to be $7.5 billion, including the Coos Bay terminal along the south-central Oregon coast, and the 232-mile proposed Pacific Connector link to the established pipeline grid at Malin near the Oregon-California border.