Broadwater LNG port off NY takes big step forward
By Bruce Nichols
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A proposed LNG terminal in Long Island Sound off New York took a big step forward Friday with release of a favorable U.S. environmental impact statement.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff released the 2,220-page report approving the project as long as builders take certain measures to mitigate environmental impacts.
Proponent Broadwater Energy LLC, a partnership of Shell U.S. Gas and Power and TransCanada Corp, said it was studying the document but called it a major milestone.
The project still needs state permits that the developers hope can be obtained by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said.
Broadwater proposes a 1,200-foot-by-200-foot floating terminal 9 miles from shore in the middle of Long Island Sound. It would serve more than 100 tankers a year for 30 years.
Estimated cost was $700 million in 2004. No new estimate has been issued.
The facility would be able to receive, regasify and deliver 1 billion cubic feet per day, which the company says is enough to power 4 million homes.
"FERC staff concludes that approval of the proposed Broadwater LNG project would have limited adverse environmental impacts if the applicant implements 86 recommended mitigation measures," a FERC news release said.
FERC staff studied alternative approaches to meeting expected natural gas demand in the region and said the plan "would be the least environmentally damaging alternative."
Answering questions raised by citizens and local officials, FERC said the risks associated with an accident or terrorist attack are low and impacts on wildlife, fishing and recreation will be small.
Many of the conditions imposed apply to building the project's 22-mile pipeline to shore, with a goal of minimizing undersea damage.
The 1,200-foot floating storage and regasification unit would be built elsewhere and moored at a pipeline riser located in New York waters between Connecticut and Long Island.
"We welcome the issuance of the FEIS," said John Hritcko, Broadwater senior vice president. "We will be reviewing the findings and conclusions over the coming days."
Broadwater initially hoped to have the terminal in operation by the end of 2010, but the environmental impact evaluation took about a year longer than expected.
Currently, the company has no specific target date for startup, but the spokeswoman said timelines have slipped.
(Reporting by Bruce Nichols)