Colorado’s West Slope producer group is optimistic the new FERC application for the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Oregon and companion Pacific Connector transmission pipeline should open a “new day” to complete the promise of a 1 Bcf/d export project on the U.S. West Coast.
“We’re looking at this project more as a certainty” and are more sure about its chances for federal approval, said David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope chapter of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. He discussed the project with NGI. “We don’t look at this as a re-application, but as an application in a new day, a new time and a new market with a new administration.”
Jordan Cove’s sponsor, Calgary-based Veresen Inc. would be financially strengthened with the pending $7.3 billion merger with Pembina Pipeline Corp., Ludlam said, making it more viable to secure approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Jordan Cove in its application noted that it has secured some customers, altered the proposed onsite power plant and opened the right-of-way portfolio. “So I think there are a lot of enhancements that have been made, making it a new start.”
Western Slope communities have been supportive of Jordan Cove for years, according to Ludlam, who credited a bipartisan legislative effort, despite last year’s rejection by FERC of Jordan Cove. Producers, communities and elected officials realize the economic multipliers the project represents for Piceance Basin supplies, Ludlam told NGI.
Although it is still unclear from where Jordan Cove will secure all of its gas supply, Ludlam said a rough “back-of-a-napkin” calculation is to multiply 1 Bcf/d at the Opal Hub price to get a sense of the “broad value” of the export project to western Colorado.
“We’re going to be competing head-to-head with other states and basins,” said Ludlam. “It is hard to really calculate until we know where all of the customers line up.”
The ball park calculation applied a 20 cent/Mcf markup for up to 1.5 Bcf/d of Piceance supplies, “and that gives you some really big numbers for local governments, the economy overall and oilfield owners,” he said. “Hypothetically, it is very significant.”
Support along the Western Slope has “done nothing but grow” the past five years. “We’re all playing the long game here. We’re not looking for what Jordan Cove can do for us in the next three years, but rather what it can do in 20 or 30 years, so the expectations from Day One have been that we are going to be working on this forever in the sense that even after the terminal is built, we are still going to be working hard to develop contracts and compete.”
The projections see a growing and more diverse global LNG market, particularly in Asia, which favors the West Coast-based suppliers longer term, Ludlam said.
“The way the global market is developing with no longer having landing restrictions, the market is going to be more flexible,” he said. “So, when you look at countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan and at least six or seven others all building import capacity, Jordan Cove will have the ability to go other places, although it is true Japan is going to be purchasing a guaranteed chunk of capacity.”
The more diverse worldwide market is going to be “just hitting it stride” about the time Jordan Cove comes online, he said. “For the Far East markets, the West Coast transportation advantages will become even more important.”
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