BHP Billiton said Tuesday its proposed Cabrillo Port offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal received the endorsement of the Oxnard, CA, Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors last week. The LNG port, which would be located 14 miles offshore Ventura County is still awaiting final determination’s from the U.S. Coast Guard and Maritime Administration.

“Our [government relations committee (GRC)] and the board of directors studied the Cabrillo Port project carefully, examining the benefits of having a reliable, safe and clean natural gas supply for business development and quality of life issues in Oxnard and how it helps meet long term needs for natural gas both here in our region and statewide,” says Nancy Lindholm, CEO of the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce.

The endorsement came after weeks of meetings between the Oxnard Chamber’s GRC and proponents as well as opponents of the project. BHP Billiton’s representatives and representatives of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) met with members of the chamber of commerce to detail the project and answer questions and concerns.

The California Lands Commission recently released a revised draft environmental impact report on the project and will hold hearings on the report in mid April. The U.S. Coast Guard is expected to release its final environmental statement sometime this summer. BHP said it expects to receive final authorization for the project by the end of the summer.

Cabrillo Port would utilize a floating storage and regasification unit that would be anchored to the sea floor. LNG would be brought in primarily from Australia on ships three times a week, stored in facilities with 273,000 cubic meters of capacity and regasified using a closed loop vaporization process. BHP would send the 800 MMcf/d of regasified LNG to shore through two 24-inch diameter pipelines. SoCalGas would build new metering facilities onshore along with a new 36-inch diameter pipeline. The local distribution company also would loop its system in Los Angeles County with a new 30-inch diameter pipeline and would build other onshore facilities to support the project. Operation of the LNG port is expected to begin in 2010.

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