STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Columbia Riverkeeper; Columbia River Clean Energy Coalition; Oregon Sierra Club; local residents
BACKGROUND: Oregon LNG has proposed a $1 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal and $300 million accompanying pipeline on the Columbia River in Warrenton, Oregon. The $1 billion regasification portion would include a marine receiving terminal, three storage tanks, and facilities to support ship berthing and cargo offloading. The average capacity would be 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (bcf/d), with the potential to expand to 1.5 bcf/d in the future. Oregon LNG began in 2004, and had hoped to start construction in 2010 and begin operations in 2015.
LNG projects in Oregon have faced significant opposition from environmental groups and local residents. In mid-2010, Houston-based Northern Star Natural Gas filed for bankruptcy and officially suspended its Bradwood Landing LNG project, also to be located on the Columbia River. Environmental groups lauded their efforts to challenge permits and stall the project, which after 6 years and $100 million bled the project dry of its financing and caused investors to walk away. Those same groups have now turned their attention to Oregon LNG. They oppose the project due to its potential impact on nearby Young’s Bay fishery, and question the public safety of siting an LNG terminal near an airport or the city of Astoria.
Oregon LNG has received a letter of recommendation from the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is working on its environmental impact statement. It also received approvals from the Clatstop County Board of Commissioners. However, in November 2010, the environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper (which successfully killed the Bradwood Landing project) appealed the approval to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. Oregon LNG also had to obtain a federal court order forcing the Port of Astoria to renew its lease for the property, and prevailed in a FERC proceeding in which local landowners alleged Oregon LNG of misconduct, specifically trespassing, harassment and retaliation. All of these proceedings have delayed the project and have put its project in limbo with other regulators and industry partners, according to Oregon LNG. Still, the project moves forward and the outlook is positive.
SOURCES: Oregon LNG (http://www.oregonlng.com/home.php; http://www.oregonlng.com/pdfs/OregonLNGTerminalFact_Sheet208.pdf);
Clatstop County web site (http://www.co.clatsop.or.us/default.asp?pageid=669&deptid=12);
Oregon Department of Energy (http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/SITING/LNGTerminals.shtml);
Daily Emerald (http://www.dailyemerald.com/news/company-suspends-plan-to-build-oregon-lng-pipeline-1.1480057#);
OregonLive.com (http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2010/05/remaining_lng_projects_in_oreg.html; http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2010/11/opponents_appeal_clatsop_count.html);
Downstream Today (http://www.downstreamtoday.com/projects/project.aspx?project_id=137);
Last Updated: November 30, 2010