ExxonMobil Faces Tough Opposition on Gulf LNG Terminal

ExxonMobil is getting a taste of what the environmentalists and sports fishermen have already done to Shell Oil Company. There has already been stiff opposition to Shell's 'Gulf Landing' LNG terminal, which is scheduled to open in 2010, about 38 miles offshore from Cameron Parish. The ExxonMobil's Pearl Crossing is in the same area.

Environmentalists are upset that the LNG facilities Shell & ExxonMobil plan to use millions of gallons of Gulf water a day to convert nearly frozen liquefied natural gas into gas. The concern is that these offshore terminals will kill fish eggs and zooplankton-organisms that fish eat-- when the terminals intake water.

Sports fishermen, environmentalists, and now the Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, want the LNG terminals to use a "closed-loop" system, which would recycle water and use natural gas to heat up the LNG. Both oil companies designed their terminals to use an "open-loop" system, which continually uses fresh seawater.

The two oil companies have stated that the "closed-loop" systems are expensive and would make their offshore terminals less competitive. Furthermore, a spokesperson for ExxonMobil says that the impact on fisheries would be insignificant, because the terminal's intake would be 46 feet below the water and that there would be a grid over the unit to keep out marine life.

Governor Blanco did not veto the Shell facility's charter, and environmentalists have taken their opposition to federal court, arguing that the plans for the LNG terminal did not undergo a thorough review.