Regulators say Chevron LNG plant would have limited impact on Miss. coast

Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chevron officials are downplaying the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff’s report because it does not represent the government’s final approval.

“It is a really good sign,” said Richard Lammons, vice president of Bayou Casotte Energy LLC, the Chevron subsidiary that will build the plant. “It’s not a formal approval, but it is the last major hurdle we had before FERC.”

Lammons said he expects FERC to rule on the project sometime in January.

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“We don’t anticipate any roadblocks right now,” he said.

Bayou Casotte Energy plans to build an LNG receiving and regassification facility on a 255-acre plot south of the existing Chevron Refinery, which is located on Bayou Casotte, east of Pascagoula.

If the facility is built, special ships will deliver LNG to the Bayou Casotte Energy facility. There, the gas will be offloaded in liquid state and stored until needed. Once the gas is needed, it will be reheated into a gas and shipped to the end user.

There are currently five LNG facilities in the United States, with Elba Island, Ga., and Lake Charles, La., being the closest to Mississippi. The Bayou Casotte plant has a planned capacity to send 1.3 billion of natural gas into the pipeline daily.

Lammons said the major variable in starting construction is ensuring the plant is supplied.

“We are not in the business of building spec projects,” he said. “We don’t want to build it and then the supply is not available.”

The United States demand for natural gas is high, Lammons said, and expected to get higher through 2020.

“There will be demand, and it is increasing,” he said.

Gulf LNG of Houston, Texas, is also proposing a liquid natural gas terminal in Mississippi on land to be leased from the Port of Pascagoula. The location is along industrial Bayou Casotte east of Pascagoula and south of the Chevron Refinery.