North America LNG / LPG News
Developers Promote Maine LNG Project
by Anne Ravanna Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME
January 22, 2008
A group of developers looking to build a liquefied
natural gas facility on a stretch of Calais, Maine, shoreline spent the past
week promoting the project, though it remains in the planning
Rep. Ian Emery, R-Cutler, has partnered with Arthur Gelber, a
Houston-based LNG consultant, and Carl Myers, a retired utility
executive from Pennsylvania, to form Calais LNG Project Co.
Gelber and Emery said in an interview Tuesday that they want to
build Calais LNG in order to expand the natural gas market in Maine,
especially at a time when fuel prices are so high.
"I think even a ray of hope that we can do something about that,
not just a lower price with increased supply, but also to shed the
burden that they [local residents] have of importing" natural gas
and other fuels would be good, Gelber said.
The group spent several days recently in private meetings with
town officials and residents to gauge reaction to the project and to
find out what questions exist, Gelber said.
Some of the most basic questions have yet to be answered.
When asked what his group planned to do differently from the two
other LNG projects already proposed in Washington County, Gelber
said, "I don't know what they're doing, honestly, but we're going to
do it our way."
The group hopes to place Calais LNG on a 360-acre site between
Red Beach and Devil's Head landmarks and across from Canada's Port
of Bayside industrial site and shipping facility, Gelber said. He
would not say who owns the land he plans to use, but on a map he
pointed to an area about seven miles outside of downtown Calais.
The area Gelber identified is made up of several properties
surrounding a 106-acre parcel owned by Steven Carothers of Calais,
according to Calais City Hall records. Located on the corner of
River Road and Arborhaven Lane, the parcel is valued at $234,600.
Carothers did not return calls for comment.
Gelber would not say how much the project will cost, nor would he
reveal the name of the U.S.-based investment bank he said was
backing the project.
Plans for Calais LNG include a trestle stretching 1,000 feet from
shore, offloading facilities and two or three storage tanks with a
capacity of about 3 billion cubic feet of gas, Gelber said.
The group has not yet planned the length or route of the natural
gas pipeline that would connect the import terminal to the Maritimes
and Northeast pipeline, Gelber said. There are not yet plans for a
Calais LNG central office.
The group plans to begin the application process with the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission and the Maine Department of
Environmental Protection in "early to mid-summer," Gelber said.
Calais LNG "will have the smallest environmental footprint of any
of the LNG facilities proposed," Gelber said. He said he does not
anticipate having to dredge the area beneath the trestle, because
the water is deep close to shore, he said.
The two existing LNG proposals have ignited a great deal of local
controversy over safety and environmental impact.
Oklahoma-based Quoddy Bay LNG hopes to build a facility in Perry
and at the Passamaquoddy reservation at Pleasant Point, and
Washington, D.C.-based Downeast LNG wants to build a facility in
Quoddy Bay LNG and Downeast LNG are more than two years ahead of
Calais LNG in terms of obtaining the necessary state and federal
Gelber said he and the rest of his "all-star team" representing
Calais LNG probably had 100 conversations during their recent visit
with town officials and people in local restaurants and stores.
"By and large there's a tremendous amount of support here for
this type of development. I think that there's a recognition that
there's a desire for work here," Gelber said.
Gelber said he was not sure whether he had spoken with any
members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, whose members have responded
strongly in favor of and against the other LNG projects.
"I've talked to people in the area. I haven't talked to any
Native Americans that I know of," he said.
Bob Godfrey, spokesman for Save Passamaquoddy Bay, a group
opposed to LNG facilities in the bay, called Calais LNG "the
absolute worst of the three projects," citing the need for LNG
tankers to navigate around St. Croix Island and up the St. Croix
Godfrey said no LNG project proposed in Passamaquoddy Bay can
meet safety and navigational standards put forth by the Society of
International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators, a London-based
But Calais Assistant City Manager Jim Porter believes Calais LNG
will be accepted by Calais residents equally if not more than
Downeast LNG was accepted in Robbinston. In 2006, residents there
voted 227-83 to approve a referendum question that allowed Downeast
LNG to move forward with its project.
Dean Girdis, president of Downeast LNG, said Calais LNG has no
advantage over his project.
"We looked at that site prior to choosing ours," Girdis said
Thursday. "It seemed very challenging on the navigational issues."
Adam Wilson, deputy project manager for Quoddy Bay LNG said, "We
are primarily focused on our own project and permit applications and
that's our primary concern."
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