LNG Update: Broadwater (Long Island Sound) and Main Pass Energy Hub (Louisiana)

The U.S. Coast Guard’s waterway suitability report for the Long Island Broadwater facility is calling for increased security and firefighting enhancements. The liquefied natural gas terminal proposed for Long Island Sound, a joint venture between Shell and TransCanada Corp., is slated to start operations in late 2010. Once on-line, the facility could supply up to 1.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Project opponents remain dead set against using tax dollars to pay for emergency response for a private corporation.

The Broadwater project involves a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) moored in Long Island Sound, about 11 miles off the coast of Connecticut and nine miles off of Long Island. Two or three LNG vessels could call at the facility weekly and the delivered gas would be sent ashore via undersea pipelines. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) still has to issue its draft Environmental Impact Statement that includes the Coast Guard report. Following that, the Coast Guard captain of the port for Long Island Sound will issue a letter of recommendation for the project.

The Coast Guard report has served to ignite a renewed round of opposition to the controversial project. High profile opponents who have embraced the anti-Broadwater cause include several regional Democratic candidates for Congressional elections in November. Connecticut state attorney general Richard Blumenthal has also come out against the terminal. IN response, Broadwater officials have said that they’re already committed to paying the bills necessary to ensure the specialized firefighting equipment needed for the project.

Elsewhere, McMoran's $1 billion LNG terminal got a major boost by a federal initial finding that the project would have no significant environmental impact. A final decision on their Main Pass Energy Hub is expected early in 2007. Additionally, McMoran’s decision to change the gas reheating process after LA Governor Kathleen Blanco’s veto in May is expected to end possible objections from the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The company will use natural gas instead of seawater to warm the liquefied gas. The change to the more expensive process was necessary in the face of growing opposition from Blanco and environmental activists.