This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Three Federal Agencies to Coordinate U.S. LNG Safety
Following an explosion at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Algeria, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Coast Guard have pledged to provide a "comprehensive and coordinated review of land and marine safety and security issues" at U.S. import terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The three agencies signed an interagency agreement on February 11th. FERC is currently participating in a study to evaluate the hazards associated with LNG spills on water, and expects it to be completed by the end of March 2004. See the FERC press release.
At least 27 people were killed and more than 70 were injured in the Algerian explosion in late January. The explosion and fire also severely damaged three of six liquefaction facilities at the LNG export terminal. See the account of the event from PartnerRE Ltd., an insurer, and if you understand French, see also the account from Sonatrach, which owns the facility.
Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), an international advisory and consulting firm, noted recently that "the global LNG business faces an unprecedented opportunity to emerge as the second global energy business," although it must overcome financing barriers while earning the public's confidence. Recent industry announcements include Dominion's plans to nearly double the capacity of its Cove Point terminal near Baltimore, Maryland, and Southern Union Company's plan to increase capacity by 50 percent at the Trunkline LNG terminal near Lake Charles, Louisiana. See the press releases from CERA, Dominion, and Southern Union.
In a presentation in December, FERC Chairman Pat Wood, III noted that there are currently four LNG terminals in the United States, two more have been approved, eight more (including two in the Bahamas) have been formally proposed to either FERC (for shoreline terminals) or the Coast Guard (for offshore terminals), and 25 more are in the planning stages, including one in the Bahamas, seven in Mexico, and four off the shores of the United States. See Chairman Wood's December 17th presentation.