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Exelon is confident after FERC cites impacts from trio of Texas LNG projects

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Exelon is confident after FERC cites impacts from trio of Texas LNG projects

Exelon Corp. expects its proposed Annova LNG plant near Brownsville, Texas, to stay on target for a final investment decision in late 2019, even after Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff found the three export ventures in the area would result in "certain significant cumulative impacts" to the environment and community.

"Annova LNG expects and welcomes FERC's evaluation of the cumulative impacts associated with the three Brownsville LNG projects," project spokesman Jimmy Porch said. "As shown in our FERC application, the Annova LNG project has proposed mitigation measures in place to address environmental impacts associated with the project."

FERC staff cited the cumulative impacts in a draft environmental impact statement issued Oct. 12 that gave a passing grade to a competing LNG export project, NextDecade Corp.'s proposed Rio Grande LNG terminal and related pipeline projects.

In the review, the staff referred to "certain significant cumulative impacts" from the Rio Grande LNG facility, the Annova LNG facility and Texas LNG LLC's Brownsville terminal. FERC staff reported the anticipated cumulative impacts "are predominately based on concurrent construction and operation" of the plants and would include noise and effects on water quality and wildlife. The impacts would be a factor in any FERC decision on permit applications for the projects. (FERC dockets CP16-454, CP16-455)

However, Porch pointed to "fewer on-site emissions than typical LNG facilities" and a relatively low volume of ship traffic as examples of Annova LNG's limited impacts.

The other Brownsville developers also did not see the FERC finding as an obstacle. NextDecade said in an Oct. 12 statement after receiving the draft EIS that the company expects to stay on the timeline for its project, with a final EIS on April 26, 2019, and an expected final investment decision in the third quarter of 2019. The facility would include six liquefaction trains capable of producing 27 million tonnes per annum of LNG.

The Annova LNG and Texas LNG proposed export ventures are smaller than Rio Grande LNG, at 6 mtpa and up to 4 mtpa, respectively.

Texas LNG COO Langtry Meyer said Oct. 12 that his company has "the smallest of the three proposed Brownsville LNG projects and should have the smallest contribution to cumulative impacts." Meyer said Texas LNG was awaiting its draft EIS and would review cumulative impacts once it is released.

Rio Grande LNG, Annova LNG and Texas LNG were among 12 projects to receive updated schedules of environmental reviews from FERC as part of the agency's effort to work through a backlog of applications for export facilities. FERC estimated it would release the draft EIS for Texas LNG in October and the review for Annova LNG in December. (FERC dockets CP16-116, CP16-480)