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FERC issues draft EIS for Port Arthur Liquefaction Project

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LNG Industry,

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced that it has issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Port Arthur Liquefaction Project proposed by Port Arthur LNG and PALNG Common Facilities Co., as well as the Texas Connector Project and Louisiana Connector Project proposed by Port Arthur Pipeline LLC (PAPL).

According to the statement, the proposed projects would include a new LNG export terminal located in Jefferson County, Texas, and approximately 165 miles of 42 in. diameter pipeline in Jefferson and Orange Counties, Texas; and Cameron, Calcasieu, Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, and St. Landry Parishes, Lousiana.

The Port Arthur liquefaction project would include the following facilities:

  • Two liquefaction trains, each of which would have a capacity of 6.73 million tpy of LNG for export.
  • Three LNG storage tanks, each of which would have a 160 000 m3 capacity.
  • A refrigerant storage area and truck unloading facilities.
  • A condensate storage area and truck loading facilities.
  • A new marine slip with two LNG vessel berths, an LNG vessel and support and manoeuvring area, and an LNG transfer system.
  • A materials offloading facility and Pioneer Dock.

The Texas Connector Project and Louisiana Connector Project would include the following facilities:

  • Approximately 34.2 miles of 42 in. diameter pipeline to bring feed gas to the liquefaction facilities (Texas Connector Project).
  • Approximately 130.8 miles of 42 in. diameter pipeline to bring feed gas to the liquefaction facilities (the Louisiana Connector Project).
  • Three compressor stations.
  • Meter stations at the pipeline interconnects.
  • Other associated utilities, systems and facilities (yards, access roads, etc.).

FERC claims that the EIS has been prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA in 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1500-1508 (40 CFR 1500-1508), and FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).

The conclusions and recommendations in the EIS are those of the FERC environmental staff. FERC claims that it did consider input from the US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, US Department of Transportation, US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy as cooperating agencies. However, according to the statement, these agencies could develop their own conclusions and recommendations and would adopt the final EIS per 40 CFR 1506.3 (where applicable) if, after an independent review of the document, they conclude that their permitting requirements have been adequately satisfied.

In the statement, FERC concludes that both construction and operation of the projects would cause some negative environmental impacts, but these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels. This conclusion is based on a review of the information provided by PALNG and PAPL and further developed from data requests; field investigations; scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and contacts with the federal, state, and local agencies, Native American tribes, and other stakeholders. Although a number of factors were considered in this determination, FERC claims that the main reasons are as follows:

  • The liquefaction project would be located on a site that was already reviewed and approved by the commission in 2006 (FERC Docket No. CP05-83-000).
  • PALNG’s and PAPL’s compensatory mitigation plans would adequately address impacts on wetlands and Waters of the US.
  • Sufficient safety features would be incorporated into the design and operation of the liquefaction project facilities.
  • The proposed pipeline routes would be within or next to existing rights-of-way for 43% (Texas Connector Project) and 73% (Louisiana Connector Project) of their respective lengths.
  • PALNG and PAPL would implement their project-specific Environmental Plan, which includes the Commission’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and the Commission’s Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures to minimise the impact of construction on soils, wetlands and waterbodies.
  • Utilisation of the HDD method for installing the pipeline at 25 different locations along the Texas Connector Project and 26 locations along the Louisiana Connector Project would help prevent disturbances to wetlands, waterbodies, essential fish habitat, protected species, and vegetation and land use resources at those locations.
  • The FERC staff would complete the process of complying with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
  • FERC staff would complete the process of complying with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act before any construction of the projects commences.
  • FERC’s environmental and engineering inspection and mitigation monitoring program for the projects would make sure that all mitigation measures and conditions of any FERC authorisation are complied with.

In the statement, FERC also claims that it has developed additional site-specific mitigation measures that PALNG and PAPL should put in place in order to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise be caused by construction of their projects.

The draft EIS comment period closes on 19 November 2018. FERC commissioners will take staff’s recommendations into consideration when they make a decision on the projects.

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