The Warrenton, OR, liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal proposal for the mouth of the Columbia River filed its Water Suitability Assessment (WSA) study with the U.S. Coast Guard Wednesday, marking another small step in its competition with at least two other LNG projects in the state working their way through federal/state permitting processes. Oregon LNG is the revamped project originally proposed as Skipanon LNG in 2004 by Calpine Corp.
The company’s water assessment contends that LNG ships can safely navigate the Columbia River bar to unload shipments of LNG that will equate more than 1 Bcf/d of imported supplies.
In an interview with NGI in May, Oregon LNG CEO Peter Hansen said by mid-year the project would have all of its year-long pre-filing work completed. Oregon LNG has all of its major local permitting for a 96-acre site and surrounding waterway rights, and it has been working for the past year through the pre-filing process at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on its proposed $1 billion, 1.5 Bcf/d peak capacity tolling terminal, which currently is targeted to begin commercial operation in fall 2013 if the market for its capacity and connected 117-mile natural gas pipeline develops (see Daily GPI, May 9).
Hansen said the WSA confirms the Warrenton site is well suited for the most modern vessels, including the Q-Max class tanker.
“We focused extra time, attention and resources in the beginning to find what we believe is the best site [starting when he was at Calpine]. Oregon LNG’s site is located near the mouth of the Columbia, which means tankers do not have to pass by Astoria or go under the Astoria-Megler Bridge to serve the facility — a significant advantage compared to locations up the river,” he said. A competing facility at Bradwood Landing up the Columbia River earlier in June received its final environmental assessment from FERC (see Daily GPI, June 9).
Hansen touted Oregon LNG as having the advantage of a site and tanker traffic distant from population centers, bridges and other major infrastructure. The Warrenton site will have “minimal” impact on the other river users, making the site “ideal from a safety and security standpoint,” along with having a lower impact on the area’s salmon.
“So far, Oregon LNG is the only LNG project in Oregon that has received its land-use approvals and successfully defended these approvals against all legal challenges” Hansen said.
In its WSA assessment, the firm evaluated navigation for three LNG tanker sizes — 148,000 cubic meters (m3), 216,000 m3 (Q-Flex), and 266,000 m3 (Q-Max). Oregon LNG said its analytical work now confirms that its site can accommodate all three tanker sizes.
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