Jordan Cove Energy Project on Friday told the U.S. Department of Energy that it is seeking long-term authorization to export LNG to any nation with which the United States does not have a Free Trade Agreement.
The U.S. Department of Energy granted in December a 30-year license for Jordan Cove Energy to export LNG to countries that hold free trade agreements with the United States.
The LNG export terminal would include a berth for LNG carriers, cryogenic pipelines, four liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, and a non-jurisdictional power plant.
The terminal would have the capacity to produce about six million metric tons of LNG per year, which is equivalent to the liquefaction of about 0.9 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.
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The company filed an application on Thursday with the US Department of Energy seeking to export up to 1.2 Bcf/d of natural gas to countries with which the US has free trade agreements, it told FERC.
The commission has already approved Jordan Cove to build its southern Oregon terminal to import 1 Bcf/d of LNG. It also cleared the company to build a 230-mile pipeline that would carry the gas to Malin, Oregon, on the California border.
The company told FERC that if it gets the nod from DOE, it will ask the commission to allow it to change the project to export. “Jordan Cove is fully aware that that it will require FERC authorization to modify its plans for the terminal so that it can be used for LNG exports as well as imports.”
Jordan Cove is the latest in a string of LNG terminals that have applied to export domestic gas. The trend is being driven by booming US gas production, which has led to low gas prices and slumping LNG imports.
However, the application is the first to come from a US developer on the West Coast, and it is the first US bid to build an export terminal from scratch. Other facilities looking to export, such as the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana and the Cove Point terminal in Maryland, are looking to turn existing import terminals into export facilities.
Project Manager Robert Braddock said the West Coast terminal will have an advantage over the other US terminals seeking to export. “The principal difference is we have access to a different range of resources from both Canadian gas and US gas. But equally important is we would have certainly much closer access to the Asian markets,” he said.
Braddock also is not afraid of competition from the north, where Kitimat LNG is planning an export terminal in British Columbia. “We actually presume that Kitimat would be built. We assume that we would be built number two and we think there is plenty of room for two such facilities on the West Coast.”
Jordan Cove will apply to modify its plans at FERC after it receives “significant commitments” for capacity, Braddock said. The company expects to make this filing by the end of the year, he added. At the same time, the company will likely ask DOE to allow LNG exports to non-free trade agreement countries as well, he said.
But Jordan Cove’s exports plans are likely to face opposition from environmentalists, who waged a long battle against the company’s import terminal. Susan Jane Brown, a staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center, who represents environmental organizations and landowners, said she is still digesting the news, but that the export plan will likely rankle her clients. “It would be one thing to import a good that would be used domestically. But exporting a domestic product that they have long advocated that we need domestically, it is a bait and switch,” she said.
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