Federal and state pipeline permitting is progressing whether or not the project seeks a federal export permit.

Even with the likelihood of switching the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) project along Oregon’s south-central coast to an export facility, a major 1 Bcf/d connecting transmission pipeline project remains active and moving forward, the LNG project manager told NGI Wednesday.

Like Jordan Cove, the Pacific Connector Pipeline Project has approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), but it is working its way through various state and federal land-use and environmental permitting processes, which will take at least another 12 to 15 months, according to Bob Braddock, Jordan Cove project manager. The switch to an export location, if that in fact happens, won’t change much for the consortium pipeline, he said.

Pacific Connector previously entered into agreements with seven customers for the full capacity of the pipeline. The proposed pipeline is a limited partnership of Williams Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LLC, PG&E Strategic Capital Inc. and an affiliate of Fort Chicago Energy Partners, Fort Chicago LNG II US LP (see Daily GPI, Sept. 7, 2010).

The current “critical path” for the 234-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline project is an environmental impact statement (EIS) being done jointly by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service, Braddock said. The EIS is supposed to reflect changes in the regional Northwest Forest Plan.

Separately, earlier in September, the pipeline completed a state land-use hearing on remand from Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals and that issue is now finished, Braddock said. The appeal involved the pipeline’s potential impact on Olympia oysters found in a small inlet off of Coos Bay that the pipeline is supposed to traverse near the proposed LNG terminal site.

“That was addressed quite well,” Braddock said. “I don’t see any issues with it.” He said the Coos County Board of Commissioners should accept the appeals board findings in early November. “That will be the final local land-use decision for either the proposed terminal or pipeline,” Braddock said. “Then we have to harvest the oysters, put them aside while the pipe is installed, and after we are through, put them back in their habitat.”

In addition, Braddock said Pacific Connector will be eliminating a previously planned compressor station near the middle of the pipeline route, relocating it close to the terminus near Malin on a piece of property the project already owns. “That’s really the only change on the pipeline, but since it is connected with the LNG facility, it is mandated to go through the formal pre-filing process that FERC requires of all LNG facilities.” He said FERC officials have indicated they won’t be reexamining the entire project, just the compressor station changes.

The Jordan Cove LNG terminal and the related pipeline projects gained conditional FERC approvals in late 2009 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 18, 2009). FERC could grant Pacific Connector eminent domain powers, but it cannot do so until the project gets the necessary state permits.

The proposed pipeline would make connections with a number of existing gas pipelines near Malin, including Williams’ Northwest Pipeline near Myrtle Creek, Avista Corp.’s distribution system near Shady Cove, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s transmission system, Tuscarora Gas Transmission’s system and Gas Transmission Northwest’s system.

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