A memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would give Sound Energy Solutions (SES) exclusive development rights for its Long Beach, CA, liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal is set to expire the end of this week, and the oversight board of the Port of Long Beach is considering whether to extend the agreement. Both sides told NGI that regardless of what the Harbor Commission does, permitting and environmental review work by both sides will continue on the project.

A final environmental impact report (EIR) is now expected to be completed by early this fall, according to officials at the port. SES, a partnership between Mitsubishi Corp. and ConocoPhillips, has a MOU for a 25-acre site in Long Beach Harbor to build the receiving terminal for processing up to 700 MMcf/d of LNG.

“The MOU essentially outlines the terms of a lease of the property from the port if we successfully conclude the permitting process,” said Tom Giles, COO at SES. “We are continuing in the permitting process, and we expect the process to continue [with or without a MOU extension]. We have no information [or indication] from the Port that it is not going to continue [the agreement].”

A report in the Los Angeles Times said SES has threatened to sue the port or the City of Long Beach if they tried to block the proposed LNG terminal processing. However, Giles said the company has never said that. The Long Beach City Council was closely divided over the LNG issue last summer when it voted to await the final environmental processing, but since then the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 has given the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) clearer authority over LNG terminal siting.

While the Harbor Commission was scheduled Monday to discuss the possibility of extending the MOU during a closed-door meeting, a spokesperson for the panel said it was unlikely that anything would be made public until the issue is put on the agenda for one of the commission’s upcoming public meetings. “If there is action taken, it would be done in public and there would be a vote on it,” the spokesperson said.

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