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LNG Export Update
Just a quick update to the post I wrote in January on the proposed energy export projects in Oregon. Companies behind the proposed 234-mile Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, which would run from Malin, Oregon to Coos Bay, Oregon, filed a pre-application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 4 seeking to build a pipeline to export natural gas through Oregon. FERC vacated the project’s previous certificate in April, 2012, because the project had flipped from an import facility to an export facility. The proposed pipeline would bulldoze a 234-mile-long right-of-way through about 150 miles of private property and 80 miles of public lands to export inexpensive, domestic natural gas accessed by fracking in Wyoming and the Mountain West. The proposal would ship North American gas to high-priced Asian markets via the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal in Coos Bay.
As I stated in the earlier post, LNG export has the potential to negatively impact gas prices for consumers, both here in Oregon and nationwide. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently predicted significant increases in consumer energy costs resulting from LNG export. Between 2015 and 2035, the impact on natural gas bills is projected to be between 3 and 9 percent, and the impact on electricity bills would range from 1 to 3 percent. These numbers are also only the average increase; the study indicates that higher export levels could lead to short-term price spikes of as much as 60% under certain market conditions in the earlier study years. The benefits of LNG export would go to foreign customers and project developers, while Oregon citizens would be faced with the environmental and cost impacts of the projects.
This pre-application is only the first of many steps that the pipeline operators will need to get approval to build and run the pipeline that will supply the LNG export terminal in Coos Bay. The terminal itself also has a number of regulatory hoops to jump through before it can actually be built. CUB will continue to monitor the situation and work to ensure that Oregon utility customers do not have to compete with foreign markets for their energy supply.