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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Richard Clarke on LNG facilities and terrorists

Richard Clarke is back, frightening Americans again, this time concerning LNG as reported here.
A national security expert has said defenders probably can’t prevent a determined terrorist strike on a liquefied natural gas terminal similar to the proposed BP Crown Landing site on the Delaware River.

Richard A. Clarke, a former senior adviser to both the Bush and Clinton administrations, took the position after leading a consultant review of the KeySpan LNG’s proposed import terminal expansion in Providence, R.I...

Clarke’s group concluded that terrorists could “relatively easily” secure weapons needed for an effective attack on an LNG tanker or terminal, and said an attack runs “a high risk of generating catastrophic damage.”
Suppose the "leader" of the study had been Hector Heathcote or some other unknown, would it have received the same coverage? What is the group Mr. Clarke represents and was it an independent review of the risks of an LNG facility or a NIMBY group wanting to posit reasons to oppose LNG.

My own review of a substantial amount of literature on LNG causes me to believe that LNG tankers are not particularly vulnerable to terrorist attack. See my earlier post on this conclusion here. There are many reasons for this- including that LNG is not kept under pressure. which lessens the probability of a tank rupture spewing gas under pressure into the air...

That's not to say it couldn't happen, but then again terrorists could attack your neighborhood gas station and there might be a "high risk of catastrophic damage" from that, too, under a "worst case" scenario.

My bet is that Mr. Clarke is funded by a group in opposition to the facility.

Hat tip: The CounterTerrorism Blog

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