FERC Issues Draft EIS for Freeport LNG Export Project
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Phase II Modification Project and the Liquefaction Project. The Projects are proposed by Freeport LNG and are located in Brazoria County near the city of Freeport, Texas.
The proposed Phase II Modification Project includes: modification to the previously authorized liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessel berthing dock, LNG transfer pipelines, LNG unloading arms, and the access road system at Freeport LNG’s existing Quintana Island terminal. Freeport LNG would not construct components of the previously authorized facility, including vaporization equipment that was approved to increase the LNG Terminal’s sendout capacity.
The proposed Liquefaction Project consists of the Liquefaction Plant at and adjacent to the existing Quintana Island LNG terminal and would provide Freeport LNG the capacity to export about 13.2 million tons of LNG per year. Freeport would install 3 liquefaction trains and supporting equipment capable of liquefying 1.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
In support of the Liquefaction Plant, Freeport LNG proposes to construct a natural gas Pretreatment Plant about 2.5 miles north of the existing Quintana Island terminal. The Pretreatment Plant would process the gas for liquefaction. In addition, several interconnecting pipelines and utility lines would run from the Quintana Island terminal to the Pretreatment Plant.
The draft EIS assesses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the Projects in accordance with the requirements of NEPA. FERC said it has concluded that construction and operation of the Projects would result in adverse impacts on certain resources and nearby communities. FERC identified that there would be significant and unavoidable impacts on residents of the town of Quintana due to construction noise and construction traffic if the Projects are approved by the Commission. However, other adverse impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Freeport LNG’s mitigation measures and the additional measures recommend in the EIS.
Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons are:
– the site of the Liquefaction Plant would be an expansion of an existing, operating LNG import terminal with existing LNG storage tanks and berthing and loading/unloading facilities;
– Freeport LNG would implement its dredging plan to minimize impacts of in-water dredging, implement the use of Freeport’s Procedures and specialized construction techniques to minimize construction impacts on soils, wetlands, and waterbodies;
– Freeport LNG would incorporate adequate safety features into the design and operation of the Projects;
– the Pipeline/Utility Line System follows the existing sendout pipeline and would be contained within the already disturbed right-of-way;
– the Projects would have no effect or would not likely adversely affect any federally-listed or state-listed threatened or endangered species;
– air emissions from the Projects would not exceed of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, and noise and vibration impacts would be minimized; and
– the FERC’s environmental and engineering inspection and mitigation monitoring program for this Project would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures and conditions of any FERC Authorization.
Press Release, March 17, 2014; Image: Freeport