By JEFF BARNARD, San Jose Mercury News, December 7, 2011
A company that originally wanted to import liquefied natural gas from overseas through the Oregon port of Coos Bay received a preliminary permit Wednesday allowing it to switch to exporting.
Jordan Cove project manager Bob Braddock said the permit is a preliminary hurdle that needed to be crossed. It allows the project to apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for licenses needed to build the terminal and a related pipeline, as well as a broader license to export to nations not on the free trade list.
While both the pipeline and terminal have FERC approval for imported gas, they must go through a new process to export, he said.
The project is on track to be the first on the West Coast to be able to export growing supplies of natural gas being developed from deep shale formations.
Braddock said the development of extensive shale gas reserves has brought prices so low that importing LNG no longer makes sense.
The state of Oregon and conservation groups both oppose the project, saying it will raise prices for consumers by reducing supplies.
The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay has promoted the terminal as a source of jobs and economic development for a region still struggling to overcome downturns in the timber industry.
Construction of the Ruby Pipeline has brought gas from Wyoming to Southern Oregon, where it is sent to California. Construction of a new pipeline would link Ruby with Jordan Cove.