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Main Pass Energy Hub, Louisiana

STATUS:  Temporarily Suspended

TYPE: Natural Gas

OPPOSITION:  Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco; environmental groups

PROSPECT:  Indeterminate

BACKGROUND:  McMoRan Exploration Co. filed a Deepwater Port License application with the U.S. Coast Guard and Maritime Administration in 2004 to construct the $1 billion Main Pass Energy Hub, an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and adjoining pipeline.  The project as designed would transmit 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Environmental groups and fishing activists warned of the dangers of the project’s “open loop” vaporization system to the marine environment.  Despite two years of studies by the Coast Guard and Maritime Administration that found minimal environmental threat from the project, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco succumbed to environmental groups’ pressure.  In May 2006, Gov. Blanco exercised the power available to her under the Deepwater Port Act and vetoed the Main Pass Energy Hub.  McMoRan was then forced to switch to a “closed loop” design.

The revised project was to be completed in 2010, but appears to have been suspended.  McMoRan’s 2009 public filings indicate that it is still considering restarting the project, although nothing has happened to date.

SOURCES:  New Orleans Times-Picayune: http://www.nola.com/business/t-p/index.ssf?/base/money-3/1164956820166850.xml&coll=1;
hydrocarbons-technology.com: http://www.hydrocarbons-technology.com/projects/main-pass/;
Rigzone: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=31925;
Sierra Club: http://louisiana.sierraclub.org/lng.asp         

Last Updated:  November 19, 2010