FERC May Decide on Texas LNG Facility Next Month
by Louise Popplewell, Victoria Advocate, Texas Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
August 13, 2007
The proposal to import liquid natural gas into Calhoun County, Texas, process it and ship it by pipeline throughout the nation moved a step closer to becoming a reality Friday when a federal regulatory agency released its final environmental impact statement. Officials of Gulf Coast LGN Partners, developers of Calhoun LNG, said that if approved the project would mean 600 construction jobs at the peak and ensure that the county's industrial giants have enough natural gas to operate in the future.
"We're very excited about this stage," Rafael Garcia, executive vice president of development, said Friday. "It's a great milestone for the project. It completes the environmental phase of the permitting process and now it goes to the commission to make the final decision."
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meets Sept. 20.
"Hopefully we'll be on the agenda that day and we're confident of approval," he said.
Garcia said that FERC would make the final decision on whether the project moves forward. If so, he said, the target date for construction to begin is mid-2008.
Originally, the project came with a $400 million price tag and was scheduled for construction to begin in 2006. However, the permitting process took longer than anticipated and the project is now expected to cost about $750 million, Garcia said.
Plans call for Calhoun LNG to build storage tanks and processing equipment on man-made land owned by the Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort in Point Comfort. "This is a step in the right direction," said Charles Hausmann, interim port director. "That's what they've been looking for. This is a positive step forward."
In its final impact statement, FERC staff concluded that "if the proposed project is found to be in the public interest and is constructed and operated in accordance with Calhoun-Point Comfort's proposed minimization and mitigation measures as well as our recommended mitigation measures, the potential environmental impacts resulting from project-related activities would be reduced to environmentally acceptable levels."
"Our recommendations will now go to the five-man commission for a ruling," said Tamara Young-Allen, a commission spokeswoman.
The operation would involve importing natural gas being burned off as waste in countries such as Trinidad and Nigeria. Ships delivering liquid gas would be brought from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway through the Matagorda Ship Channel to the port where the gas would be vaporized and stored. The liquids would become feedstock for the area's chemical plants and natural gas would be transported by pipelines throughout the U.S., officials said.
The final environmental impact statement was prepared to satisfy requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and was made in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Louise Popplewell is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. Contact her at 361-552-2803 or email@example.com.
Copyright (c) 2007, Victoria Advocate, Texas. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Gulf Coast LNG Partners, L.P.
The Port of Port Lavaca – Point Comfort, TX United States