Oregon regulators on Monday granted a three-month extension for a review of Oregon LNG’s plans for a multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility along the Columbia River at Warrenton, OR.

“The project remains on track to receive most of its federal permits by the end of 2014, making Oregon LNG one of the first LNG export projects on the West Coast of North America,” said Oregon LNG CEO Peter Hansen.

Hansen told NGI that the company’s $6 billion-plus project needs a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to be “synchronized” with the state’s Coastal Zone Management Act.(CZMA) review, and there have been some delays in the DEIS process that he attributed to “bureaucracy.”

As a result, the project’s overall regulatory process will be set back “a few months,” Hansen said.

Hansen said he has come to realize that although the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) approval of export permits to non-free trade agreement (FTA) nations is getting all of the national attention, the FERC process for export facility construction permits is really the more comprehensive and time-consuming regulatory approval needed.

“Right now, we’re number three on the DOE list, and we think we will get the non-FTA export approval before we get other [state and FERC] permits,” Hansen said. “We don’t think that DOE will be on our critical path list. I think in general in the industry people are too focused on the DOE.”

He said one industry representative in Houston in a recent speech characterized the FERC approval process for export facilities as a “hundred million-dollar process” while the DOE process comparatively is just a “quarter-million-dollar process.” There are more unknowns and difficulties to get through in the FERC process, Hansen said.

In the midst of what has been unsettled regulatory permitting issues for some time, last fall Hansen and the backers for a second proposed LNG project in Oregon at Jordan Cove revealed that they were stepping up the pace of their marketing efforts for both customers and gas suppliers as they compete with LNG projects proposed in British Columbia (see Daily GPI, Oct. 18, 2013).