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Sabine Pass shuts down for maintenance; EPA speaks up for minority populations near LNG projects

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Sabine Pass shuts down for maintenance; EPA speaks up for minority populations near LNG projects

Plannedmaintenance at Sabine Pass LNG export terminal is underway and expected to lastabout four weeks, according to a spokesperson for

Twonatural gas liquefaction trains were shut down Sept. 17 to modify flares tomake sure they comply with emissions limits, according to a Sept. 19 letter toFERC. Train 1 came onlinein May, and train 2 awaitsFERC approval to fully enter service after reaching substantial completionSept. 15.

AsLNG companies continue to seek government approval for their export projects,the U.S. EPA is weighing in to make sure environmental impacts do notdisproportionately affect low-income and minority populations.

Inreviews of the Calcasieu Pass and Golden Pass LNG projects, EPA advised FERCstaff to look at ways to protect such communities, among other suggestions.

"EPAcontinues to recommend that FERC use knowledge of the affected areas toreconcile any differences in tools utilized to assess the minority populationin the project area," the EPA wrote in a Sept. 9 letter posted at FERC onSept. 16.

CheniereEnergy Inc. affiliates asked FERC for final authorization to placetrain 2 at the Sabine Pass liquefaction and LNG export facility into service.

In a Sept. 16 letter, the company's andSabine Pass LNG LPnoted that the train's commissioning tests confirmed that it can operatesafely. Sabine Pass also said environmental restoration activities areprogressing with no known issues.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is looking forproposals to increase the state's LNG storage and improve local gas supplyreliability.

The commission put out the request for proposals after thestate Legislature authorized the regulator to have at least one of Maine'stransmission and distribution, gas, or pipeline utilities commit to a physicalenergy storage contract.

The PUC said in its Sept. 14 request that it would evaluatethe proposed contracts based on whether they "materially" enhance theLNG storage capacity in the area, offer sufficient net benefits to the state'spower and gas consumers, and improve electric and gas reliability.

Canada's National Energy Board extended by one year thedeadline to begin construction of a TransCanadaCorp. pipeline that would carry gas from the Montney Shale to aplanned LNG export terminal in British Columbia.

The NEB on Sept. 15 approved an extension that requiresconstruction of the North Montney Mainline to begin by June 10, 2017, one yearafter the date set in its initial approval. The gathering line would carry gasto a transmission conduit linking natural gas fields in northeastern BritishColumbia with an LNG plant near Prince Rupert being developed by a group led byPetroliam Nasional Bhd.,or Petronas.

Venture GlobalLNG recently modified its plans for the Plaquemines LNG and GatorExpress pipeline project intended to serve a facility that would export up to20 million tonnes per annum of natural gas, and FERC is giving landowners achance to be heard.

The modifications to the route include removal of theNortheast Lateral and Southeast Lateral pipelines and a co-located pipelineadded to the Southwest Lateral pipeline route, FERC staff said in a Sept. 14letter to landowners who might be affected by the changes. The landowners haveuntil Oct. 14 to submit comments on the supplemental notice.

Steelhead LNGand Seven Generations Energy Ltd.are partnering to explore development of midstream natural gas infrastructureto support Steelhead's proposed LNG export projects on British Columbia'sVancouver Island.

The companies said in Sept. 19 statements that thearrangement is intended to link Seven Generations' gas supply with Steelhead'sliquefaction and export projects. The companies made the agreement as Steelheadlooks to create and deliver low-cost LNG to Asia in a market environment thathas stalled all butone Canadian export project.