An Australian energy firm said it has a safer, environmentally agreeable way to ship liquefied natural gas to California that doesn't use terminals proposed by three other companies.
The plan by Woodside Natural Gas Inc., a subsidiary of Woodside Energy Ltd., would convert natural gas from a liquid state on tankers and bring it ashore through a pipeline rather than making the conversion at an onshore facility.
Woodside planned to announce its plans at a Sacramento news conference Wednesday but the location of the Southern California system won't be disclosed. The project could supply up to 15 percent of California's natural gas needs, Woodside Natural Gas president Jane Cutler said.
The safest way to import the fuel has preoccupied the LNG debate. Three terminals have been proposed, one at the port in Long Beach and two off the Ventura County coast.
Unlike those projects, however, the Woodside plan doesn't require building a terminal to convert the liquid back to a gas. Woodside would construct special conversion tankers to deliver the natural gas directly into an underwater pipeline 15 miles off shore.
All four proposals need state and federal environmental approval. The final environmental review for the Long Beach project is expected by summer and a revised review of one Ventura County project, proposed by Australian-based BHP Billiton, is expected in March.
Crystal Energy has also proposed a terminal off Ventura County.
In Long Beach, a proposed Mitsubishi-ConocoPhillips onshore terminal inside the city's port has drawn concern from state officials and some residents that a terrorist attack or major accident could kill or injure hundreds of people.
The two proposed terminals off the Ventura County coast have been criticized because environmentalists worry they could produce air pollution and interfere with shipping lanes.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006