FERC has approved a request of Ingleside Energy Center LLC, an affiliate of Occidental Petroleum Corp., to have its proposal to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal on the Texas Gulf Coast considered under the agency’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pre-filing process.

“I am instructing my staff to begin working on the early identification of issues, agency coordination and development of the necessary environmental documentation” for the planned Ingleside Energy Center LNG facility, wrote J. Mark Robinson, director of the Commission’s Office of Energy Projects. The objective of the NEPA pre-filing is to move projects through the certification process at FERC more quickly.

FERC staff normally begins work in NEPA pre-filing cases seven to nine months prior to an application being filed at the Commission. But “your intended filing date of Sept. 17, 2004 does not meet our guidance,” he said [PF04-9].

“My staff is committed to completing the EIS [environmental impact statement] as rapidly as possible,” Robinson said, but “we are concerned that your current [compressed] schedule does not allow sufficient time for scoping of all of the issues.” An EIS normally takes 14 to 16 months to complete, he estimated.

The planned $400 million LNG terminal would be sited in Ingleside, TX, where Occidental Petroleum has a large chemical manufacturing plan. The Los Angeles-based chemical producer has said construction of the 1 Bcf/d terminal probably would begin in 2006 or 2007.

Occidental said it plans to use only about 10% of the proposed sendout capacity from the terminal for its own operations, with the remainder going directly into the interstate pipeline grid in South Texas.

A total of about 8 Bcf/d of LNG capacity is proposed for the Gulf Coast of Texas. All of the proposed capacity is expected to come online in the 2007-2009 time frame.

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