CORPUS CHRISTI — Cheniere Energy has filed for permits from the federal government to build its proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in San Patricio County.
The company’s subsidiary, Corpus Christi Liquefaction, applied this past week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to build and operate the terminal along the La Quinta Channel near the Sherwin Alumina plant.
Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is gas that is supercooled to liquid form for shipping. Cheniere then would export the product overseas.
The terminal — worth in excess of $10 billion — would feature storage tanks, docks and three liquefaction trains, or chilling facilities, each capable of processing millions of tons of natural gas.
Cheniere proposes processing about 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of LNG at the facility, drawn from sources including the gas-rich Eagle Ford Shale formation about 65 miles northwest of Corpus Christi.
The project includes a 23-mile pipeline that will tie in with the regional pipeline network.
Cheniere has more than 660 acres along the San Patricio County shoreline available for development, including a 52-acre piece under lease from the Port of Corpus Christi.
“After an eight month pre-filing process with the FERC, we have determined that our site at Corpus Christi meets all of the requirements of an attractive liquefaction project,” Charif Souki, chairman and CEO of Cheniere, said in a statement.
Cheniere once considered an LNG import facility at the same location. The import project received full approval from the federal government before plans were shelved because of market shifts.
That prior approval may help Cheniere with certain parts of its new export project during the approval process, company spokesman Andrew Ware said.
Company officials anticipate the terminal is on target to begin operation in late 2017.
Cheniere also applied for permission from the U.S. Department of Energy to export as much as 15 million tons per year of LNG from the site.
If approved, the department’s set of permits would allow Cheniere to export to all countries the U.S. has free trade agreements with and those it doesn’t, the company announced.
Due to an oversupply of natural gas in the U.S., low prices have made gas extraction less profitable.
Producers are flaring gas rather than selling it, which makes a case for exporting LNG to other countries, Ware said.
A condition of the Energy Department’s permission is that the company must prove there is an alternative public need for the gas the terminal will process, Ware said.
Cheniere also has applied for corresponding permits through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and air permits from the Environmental Protection Agency. The entire permitting process for the site is being marshaled by federal energy regulators, Ware said.
The company expects to have its regulatory approvals and financing commitments secure by early 2014, with construction beginning about that time.
Commercial agreements could be done by the third quarter of 2013.
- USA: Golden Pass Files with DOE to Export LNG (appliedagrotech.net)
Shell announced on its website that the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) denied all petitions for review of Shell’s Noble Discoverer OCS air permits.
As a result, Shell has, for the first time, usable air permits that will allow the Noble Discoverer to work in the Alaska OCS beginning in 2012.
“Achieving usable permits from the EPA is a very important step for Shell and one of the strongest indicators to date that we will be exploring our Beaufort and Chukchi leases in July. That our air permits for the Noble Discoverer withstood appeal is a testament to the robust nature of the work we have done to have the smallest possible impact on the Arctic air shed and further validates that Shell is a company uniquely-positioned to deliver a world-class drilling program in the Alaska offshore. We look forward to continued progress on the permitting front and remain committed to working with regulators and stakeholders to achieve all of the permits necessary to drill in 2012.” reads Shell’s statement.
Wilderness Society Director, Lois Epstein, recently expressed her opinion in which she assumed that neither Alaskans, the Nation nor Shell is, “ready to drill safely in the Arctic.” Ms. Epstein signed-on to a letter that claims Shell should be denied Arctic air permits because emissions from their drilling rigs and oil spill response fleet will accelerate global warming.
Pete Slaiby, Shell Alaska VP responded that “Shell has been arctic-ready for years”, saying that Shell and others have successfully drilled over 35 wells in the Alaska offshore without incident and that “Shell, alone, has dedicated more resources to Arctic science in the last five years than all Federal agencies combined.”
- USA: Environmental Groups Challenge EPA’s Permits for Shell’s Drillships
- Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans Suffer Another Blow
- USA: Shell Makes Important Step toward Arctic Offshore Drilling
- USA: Offshore Drilling Rig Noble Bully I Arrives in Gulf of Mexico
- Alaska: Apex Reports Shell Prepares Drilling Machinery for Chukchi and Beaufort Seas
- BP, Shell to partake in arctic drilling inquiry, Telegraph says (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Shell Arctic drilling permit affirmed (cbc.ca)
- Shell Just Got The Air Permits It Needs For Exploratory Arctic Drilling (businessinsider.com)
On October 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an air pollution permit for the Kulluk drill ship that Shell Offshore Inc. plans to use in offshore oil drilling efforts that could begin as early as next summer.
Yesterday, on behalf of the Native Village of Point Hope, Resisting Environmental Destruction of Indigenous Lands (“REDOIL”), Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”), Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society, Earthjustice filed an appeal with the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board challenging a similar EPA permit for the Discoverer drill ship that the agency approved last month.
The following statement is from Earthjustice attorney Colin O’Brien:
“The EPA essentially is green-lighting dangerous Arctic Ocean oil drilling by approving the air permit for the Kulluk drill ship. Shell Oil has proposed a massive drilling operation in one of the most remote places on the planet. Each year, this fleet of ships could emit 30 tons of particulate matter, 240 tons of nitrogen oxides and 80,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Not only is oil drilling risky, these ships would double the amount of global warming pollution produced by roughly all of the North Slope Borough households.
“This permit for the Kulluk marks the beginning of a wave of potential offshore industrial activity in the Arctic. Unfortunately, on the eve of a potentially massive influx of oil company development, the EPA has turned a blind eye to the cumulative impacts that would be harmful to the health of Alaska Natives and the environment for years to come.
“The EPA unfortunately has already approved another drill ship permit, for the Discoverer. That permit ignored the impacts these drill ships will have on air quality in the region and we filed an appeal today with the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board challenging the Discoverer permit.
“Arctic Ocean oil drilling is simply a bad idea. In an area with 20-foot sea swells, walls of ice 6 feet thick, and complete darkness two months out of every year, the thought of cleaning up an oil spill is ludicrous. The EPA’s decisions on these air permits moves us closer to the inevitable disaster that would be a large oil spill in the Arctic Ocean.”