As a promotional and lobbying gesture, Mitsubishi Corp.-backed Sound Energy Solutions (SES) committed late Tuesday that its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal in Long Beach, CA, harbor will meet all of the new LNG safety standards released earlier in the month by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT). The new rules, however, won’t require any change in design or plans for the receiving terminal, said SES’s Long Beach-based chief executive Tom Giles.

“We wanted to say something positive and be on the record, but we were planning all along to do the things called for in the new standards,” Giles told NGI on Wednesday. He added in the company’s formal announcement that SES had “anticipated” the DOT changes and “built them into our application” to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Giles has publicly promised that the U.S. subsidiary for Mitsubishi’s LNG operations is committed to building “the safest LNG receiving terminal in the nation.”

SES earlier this year applied to both FERC and the Port of Long Beach for permission to begin building a receiving terminal early next year for operations beginning in 2007 to process up to 1 Bcf/d of LNG. Subsequently, the California Public Utilities Commission filed with FERC asking to assert jurisdiction over the terminal siting process, something opposed by SES. Both sides are awaiting FERC’s response to the state regulators’ request.

In the meantime, DOT’s research and special programs unit last week announced updated safety standards applicable to LNG facilities. Effective April 8, the new rules are designed to update the standards for the production, storage and handling of LNG, making them reportedly more explicit and detailed.

As part of its long-standing role regulating natural gas pipelines in the United States, DOT looks at rules related to LNG facilities, and in the latest update has increased emphasis on operations, maintenance, security, qualifications and training, along with changing the required seismic design methods for storage tanks.

The LNG sector of the global energy trade is set to take off in the United States, but is still reeling for an explosion that killed 27 people and injured scores on others at a plant in Algeria that processes natural gas into its liquid state as LNG for transoceanic transport. Still under investigation, the tragic incident badly damaged three so-called “trains” (out of six) producing LNG at the facility.

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