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Kinder Morgan considering coal export terminal in Charleston: executive


Terminals operator Kinder Morgan is seriously considering the additionof coal export capability at its existing bulk facility in Charleston, SouthCarolina, according to a company executive.

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The company would like to capitalize on growing long-term export demandbut is waiting for a dedicated customer for the terminal, said Will Browning,commercial director for Kinder Morgan's southeast region and overall coalbusiness lead.

"We don't build on speculation, we do it in lockstep with ourcustomers," Browning said Thursday at the Platts Coal Properties & Investment conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "Right now we have a good sense ofdemand of exporting coal out. Hopefully we can do something in the future."

The company's Shipyard River Terminal previously exported coal but theequipment was removed shortly after Kinder Morgan bought the terminal,Browning said.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan purchased the terminal, along with Pier IXin Newport News, Virginia, in 1998 from Zeigler Coal Holding Co. for $35million.

Kinder Morgan is expecting US coal export volumes this year may beslightly down on the 2012 total of around 120 million st due to lower globalthermal and met coal prices making trade more difficult.

Expansion plans at terminals mainly on the US Gulf, including at thegroup's facilities, will allow for any future upside, and Kinder Morgan mayincrease its share of US coal export business, Browning said.

The company exported 38 million st in 2012 through a variety ofterminals on the East and Gulf coasts and projects the number to rise to 44 million st in 2013, partly due to terminal expansion.

The company's largest coal export facility is Pier IX, which exported14.4 million st in 2012. Browning said the company is adding 1 million st ofcapacity to the facility.

The company is also adding significant capacity to its InternationalMarine Terminal in Louisiana. Browning said the terminal exported 3.8 millionst in 2012, but plans to push annual capacity at the terminal from 10 millionto 20 million st in 2014.

Kinder Morgan is also adding capacity to its two Houston terminals.Browning said the company recently converted its Deepwater terminal frompetcoke to coal and last year exported 640,000 st.

Browning said the terminal will be expanded to handle 10 million stannually by the end of next year. Western coal exports are expected to be thenew focus for the group's Texas-based bulk operations.

Kinder Morgan is also working to develop a West Coast terminal for coalexports in St. Helens, Oregon. The project is in the permitting phasebut would have annual capacity of roughly 20 million to 30 million st.

Browning said he and the industry have been surprised by the pushbackthe proposed Oregon terminal and others in the Pacific Northwest havereceived from communities in the region.

Despite this, Browning said the company believes at least one of thefive proposed terminals is likely to come online within the next five toseven years.

"Long term, the project looks very promising on our end," Browningsaid about its proposed Oregon terminal.

--Andrew Moore, Forster, by Jason Lindquist,