Calgary-based Veresen Inc. last week said affiliate Jordan Cove Energy Project LP has filed an application with FERC to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility on the West Coast within the international Port of Coos Bay, OR.
The company said it expects to receive a certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow it to construct and operate the liquefaction facility one year from the date of filing. Construction could begin by in September 2014 (see NGI, May 20a).
The proposed Jordan Cove project, which has an initial liquefaction design capacity of 1 Bcf/d, would meet growing demand for LNG by providing direct access to natural gas reserves in Western Canada and the U.S. Rockies primarily through existing pipeline and gas gathering networks. The gas would be exported to markets throughout the Asia Pacific, South America, Hawaii and Alaska. LNG demand in the Asian Pacific markets is expected to exceed 300 metric tons a year by 2025, according to Veresen.
“Over the course of the last year, we have focused on de-risking the development project and recently have substantially increased commercial marketing of the facility with the intention of contracting the facility and [associated] pipeline to a high-quality customer on a tolling basis,” said Vern Wadey, vice president of business development, who spoke from Singapore, where he is marketing the project.
The LNG export terminal has “good community and political support,” and “it has an extremely good chance of being built,” he said. It is the largest capital investment ever made in the state of Oregon. The project, which would be sited in the southwest part of Oregon, has weathered a storm of criticism over the years (see NGI, May 20b).
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and one-time critic of gas exports, appears to be warming to the idea of gas exports in general, if not Jordan Cove in particular. The fact that Wyden invited John Mohlis, executive secretary of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, to the committee’s second forum on gas policy is a sign that he is “thinking of the good” that gas exports could bring to the entire nation, not just a particular area. Mohlis talked about the Jordan Cove export project.
In December 2011, Jordan Cove won approval from the Department of Energy (DOE) to export LNG to free-trade agreement (FTA) nations. However, the order did not include exports to major Pacific Rim gas market countries such as China and Japan. Jordan Cove is awaiting DOE action on its March 2012 application to export gas to countries that don’t have domestic FTAs, or non-FTAs. Jordan Cove is No. 6 in the chronological order of applications that DOE plans to consider.
DOE has slow-walked export application approvals for gas exports to non-FTA nations so far. It conditionally approved a second application earlier this month for the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, TX to export up to 1.4 Bcf/d of LNG to non-FTA countries (see related story; NGI, May 20c). The department took this action within 24 hours of Ernest Moniz being confirmed as the new DOE secretary, giving the gas industry hope that the department would move more quickly on non-FTA permits.
But the industry’s optimism was short-lived when Moniz last week said he intended to put the other non-FTA export applications on hold until he can review studies by DOE and others on the impact of exports on domestic prices and supply. Under pressure at his confirmation hearing in April, Moniz committed to review the department’s studies of natural gas exports, which some have said are based on outdated information and failed to examine the regional impacts of exporting LNG (see related story).
In another development last week, Wyden called on DOE to update its application process for exports of LNG to reflect the country’s shale revolution (see related story). The current policy is based on the 1938 Natural Gas Act.
A companion application by Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP is to be submitted within weeks to FERC to build a 234-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline. The Pacific Connector, which is equally owned by Veresen and a subsidiary of Williams, would extend from the liquid trading hub of Malin, OR, to the Jordan Cove terminal and the South Dune power plant facilities, which are wholly owned by Veresen.
FERC last year launched a second environmental review of the Pacific Connector (see NGI, June 8, 2012). The South Dune gas-fueled, combined-cycle power plant facilities would have a base-load capacity of 420 MW and sited adjacent to the LNG facility.
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