Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A third bid for an LNG facility off the NJ coast

And now there are three. Three separate proposals, that is, to build facilities off the New Jersey coast for importation of foreign Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

The first, "Safe Harbor Energy," was proposed in January, 2006 by Atlantic Sea Island Group, a group of private investors who propose to build a man-made island for a LNG facility 13 miles off Long Beach, NY, and 19 miles off Sea Bright, NJ.

The second, "Blue Ocean Energy," is ExxonMobil's plan for a floating LNG terminal located 30 miles off Long Island and 20 miles east of New Jersey. (Video)

The latest project, billing itself as "Liberty Natural Gas," was proposed on May 20 by Excalibur Energy (USA) Inc. , itself a 50/50 joint venture between Canadian Superior and Global LNG Inc., a Delaware company.

The project would involve natural gas sent in liquefied from from Trinidad and re-gasified aboard the transport vessels. The gas would be offloaded to buoys some 15 miles off Asbury Park, NJ and sent via 50 miles of gas pipeline, and eleven miles of onshore pipeline to a terminus in Linden, NJ for distribution throughout the northeast.

Subject to federal and New Jersey regulatory approval, the project could begin delivery of gas to help serve the region's growing energy needs by late 2011.

Liberty Natural Gas developers are stressing that their project differs from the other two competing proposals in that it would not require the construction of large offshore transfer island or platform.

Liberty also notes that its transfer operation would not be visible from shore, a factor which contributed to at least some of the strident public opposition against Broadwater Energy's LNG platform proposed for Long Island Sound.

The latter project was blocked on April 10 by New York Governor David Paterson following an uproar from environmentalists, fishermen and coastal residents in New York and neighboring Connecticut. (See: NY nixes LNG platform; focus shifts to NJ)

Canadian Superior's Chief Executive Officer, Craig McKenzie, said, in a company press release that the project results from more than "two years of design development and several series of stakeholder interviews in the New Jersey and New York areas."

"Its design is simple and it is basically a natural gas pipeline project with an offshore, anchored submerged natural gas-receiving turret, " McKenzie said. "Impact on all components of the environment and marine life has been carefully considered in our design. Near-shore the pipeline will be directionally drilled so that no surface sediments are disturbed. Onshore the pipeline will be laid within an existing interstate pipeline corridor to Linden, New Jersey."

If Excalibur's project were approved, would one or both of its competitors still be required?

Not according to McKenzie, who noted that the project's "design capacity is up to 2.4 billion cubic feet per day, which is sufficient to safely satisfy all the growing needs in the area such that multiple projects will not have to be undertaken."

Clean Ocean Action, a New Jersey shore environmental organization that is already opposing the Mobil Exxon and Atlantic Sea Island Group projects (See: LNG platforms - A northeast update), apparently isn't impressed by the differences offered in the Excalibur plan.

“There is nothing ‘liberating’ about industrializing our ocean, becoming more dependent on foreign fossils fuels, and increasing our energy costs,” said Cindy Zipf, COA Executive Director in a press release. “We must remain vigilant and stop all three of these monstrous projects – the ocean is no one’s guinea pig.”


Natural gas pipeline proposed for NJ coast (Associated Press)
New plan seen as Broadwater alternative (Newsday)
Liberty Natural Gas to Provide Northeast With New Supply of Clean Burning Energy (Excalibur Energy press release)

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