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Jordan Cove asks FERC to start new review of rejected LNG project


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Jordan Cove asks FERC to start new review of rejected LNG project

Jordan Cove Energy Project LP and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline are restarting the FERC process for the Jordan Cove LNG export project and associated pipeline after the commission previously rejected the Veresen Inc.-led venture in their first application.

Jordan Cove's most recent request cites 53 route modifications to accommodate stakeholder requests and a net reduction in impacts of 33.4 acres from the route analyzed in FERC's environmental assessment of the previous proposal. FERC rejected the project the first time through because of environmental and landowner impacts from Pacific Connector.

According to the filing, "enhancements" that distinguish this latest proposal from the quashed project include hydrocarbon processing and combustion at the LNG terminal, reduced traffic impacts and the relocation of the Southwest Oregon Regional Security Center and the fire department, which developers say reduce "land and wetland impacts while improving fire emergency response time." The LNG terminal will also be configured in a way that eliminates the need for the South Dunes Power Plant, Jordan Cove said.

As in previous letters to FERC, developers noted precedent agreements with Jordan Cove, Macquarie Energy LLC and Avista Corp. for long-term firm transportation service on Pacific Connector. Developers said these agreements account for 68% of the pipeline's now 1.2 MMDth/d of proposed capacity. Previous files to FERC indicated precedent agreements made up 77% of the pipeline's originally planned 1.06 MMDth/d of capacity.

FERC on Dec. 9, 2016, denied developers' request to reconsider its initial rejection of the project, saying Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector failed to present "extraordinary circumstances" that would have justified a rehearing. "Commission staff sent Pacific Connector four data requests, over 3.5 years, asking for evidence of market demand for the Pacific Connector Pipeline," the order said. "We do not find that the global nature of the LNG markets, or any circumstances unique to this proceeding, precluded the applicants from relying on the guidance of our well-stated Commission policy to file evidence in a timely manner sufficient to meet their burden to demonstrate the extent to which their proposed project would benefit the public."

Jordan Cove CEO Elizabeth Spomer said in October 2016 that the project did not get a full chance to prove its economic viability before FERC denied its application because confidentiality restrictions kept Veresen from disclosing pending contracts with JERA Co. Inc. and ITOCHU Corp., but analysts said FERC was more concerned with demonstrating necessity for the $1.74 billion pipeline.

"It's a large greenfield pipe with very little landowner support," Katie Bays, an energy analyst at Height Securities LLC, said in December 2016 following FERC's decision to not rehear the project. "It's very, very obvious that FERC is uncomfortable giving eminent domain authority to that pipeline."

FERC in its rehearing rejection said developers could submit a new application attempting to show market need.

"Given the extensive environmental review that has occurred to date and issuance of the [final environmental impact statement] on a substantially similar prior proposal, applicants are seeking to update all necessary permits and environmental review, receive the required authorizations from the commission in November 2018, and commence construction of the project in the first half of 2019," developers' Jan. 23 pre-filing request said.

Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector anticipate an in-service date in the first half of 2024. Taylor Johnson, Jordan Cove's vice president for commercial and legal, said in a Jan. 31 email that the company expects to submit a formal application to FERC later this year. The proposed LNG export terminal would be capable of producing a maximum of 7.8 million tonnes per annum and would serve markets around the Pacific Rim. (FERC docket PF17-4)