After six years, a heavily conditioned FERC approval and continuing state opposition, NorthernStar Natural Gas Corp. threw in the towel Tuesday on its proposed $800 million, 1 Bcf Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal along the Columbia River in Oregon. Company officials cited the extended permitting delays and a “difficult investment environment” as the primary causes.
An official with one of the two remaining LNG projects in the state, Oregon LNG, which has a site closer to the Pacific Ocean on the river at Warrenton, OR, immediately seized on the Bradwood announcement to say the development increases the chances that it will be the only LNG facility in the Pacific Northwest.
Mohammed Alrai, a senior vice president and one of the three founders of Oregon LNG when it was originally conceived as part of Calpine Corp., said his firm was “committed to developing” its project in Oregon. “We believe that it is in the Pacific Northwest consumers’ best interest to have access to all sources for clean, efficient energy such as LNG,” Alrai told Power Market Today.
Although lagging behind Bradwood and a third Oregon LNG proposal along the Pacific Coast at Coos Bay, Oregon LNG “remains committed” to what Alrai called a “collaborative permitting process” involving local, state and federal agencies.
NorthernStar President Paul Soanes said a “challenging regulatory environment” gave investors pause, despite the fact the he said the LNG project held out a positive impact for the region’s economy and environment “while supporting the transition to renewable energy by providing a new source of reliable, affordable natural gas.”
Although he expressed disappointment, Soanes said he was grateful for what he called “tremendous support” for Clatsop County citizens and the business/labor sectors in the state. He called the Bradwood project “a great example of a project that business and labor came together to support.”
Initial development work by Houston-based NorthernStar on the Bradwood Landing project began six years ago, focused on a former lumber mill site. It received conditioned approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September 2008. Earlier in 2008, Clatsop County’s elected board approved a land-use zoning permit for LNG site, but it has subsequently run into challenges to a state board that deals with land-use appeals (see Daily GPI, Feb. 24).
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