ExxonMobil's LNG Plan: The End of Broadwater?
by Tom Incantalupo Newsday, Melville, N.Y.
December 13, 2007
Will ExxonMobil sink Broadwater?
Opponents of the liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for the middle of Long Island Sound say Exxon's proposal for a similar plant will hurt Broadwater Energy's chances of getting federal and state approvals.
Exxon's proposed site, 20 miles off the New Jersey coast, is less environmentally objectionable, opponents say.
Consultant Richard Levitan, who has advised the Long Island Power Authority about Broadwater, said he doesn't see a need for three of the same type of plants: Broadwater, ExxonMobil's BlueOcean Energy, and the Atlantic Sea Island terminal south of Long Beach, which is proposed by privately held Atlantic Sea Island Group of Manhattan.
Some investors say Broadwater was doomed even before the Exxon proposal, because it would be near major population centers and in a fragile estuary.
Proposed in 2004, Broadwater's project is within a few months of either approval or rejection by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and New York State. It has drawn environmental and local political opposition.
"It's still going to be an uphill battle and a losing battle at that," said Lanny Pendill, an analyst who follows the energy industry from the St. Louis office of the investment company Edward Jones.
But others say Exxon's willingness to invest $1 billion into increasing the region's gas supply verifies the region's future needs for the fuel.
"It's pretty unanimous in the industry that there is increased demand for natural gas out in time and that the only way to fuel that increase far out in the future is new supplies," said energy expert Matthew Cordaro, a former senior vice president of Long Island Lighting Co. and now director of Long Island University's Center for Management Analysis. "And perhaps the supply with the most potential is liquid natural gas."
He said the Northeast region could absorb more than 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day that would be produced by all three terminals.
John Hritcko, project director at Broadwater's Riverhead office, said, "Broadwater remains optimistic that we will receive our approvals," adding, "Broadwater was carefully designed to serve New Yorkers, while projects off the New Jersey coast will tend to benefit New Jersey, as BlueOcean itself admits." Broadwater Energy is based in Houston.
A leading opponent of the Broadwater project, Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in an e-mail: "This just proves our point that there are alternative locations other than the middle of Long Island Sound. ... Looks like the Broadwater barge is sinking under the competition."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said he favors an ocean location for a plant to one in Long Island Sound.
Eight proposed liquefied natural gas terminals are pending before the energy regulatory commission, a spokeswoman said. Six others are pending before the Coast Guard, including Atlantic Sea Island.
Copyright (c) 2007, Newsday, Melville, N.Y. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Broadwater Energy LLC (TransCanada and Shell)
Long Island Sound, NY United States