Coast Guard wants more information on BHP’s US gas terminal

Jan 11, 2005 01:00 AM

A decision on BHP Billiton's proposed $ 600 mm floating gas terminal off the coast of California has been put on hold while the US Coast Guard seeks more information to address environmental and safety concerns.
BHP Billiton said the Coast Guard had "stopped the clock" on its evaluation of the group's application to build the gas processing terminal 40 km offshore, while BHP Billiton gathered the additional information required. Under US law the Coast Guard has a set number of days to consider a proposal and has the right to suspend this time frame if more information is needed.

BHP Billiton spokeswoman Tania Price said this was the second time the Coast Guard had sought additional information over the group's proposed Cabrillo Port floating LNG terminal.
"We are confident that this stage in the process will help ensure a full understanding of the environmental and safety attributes of Cabrillo Port and its potential value to California," Ms Price said. Initially a decision on the proposal was expected by the end of last year and this was put back to this May. Ms Price said it was not clear how long the approval process would be put on hold for this time or when a decision could be expected.

The information is expected to address concerns raised at a series of public meetings held by the Coast Guard. BHP Billiton said the delay should not have an impact on its plans to develop the Scarborough gas field off north-western Australia.
The company owns the field in a 50:50 joint venture with ExxonMobil and is conducting a pre-feasibility study to look at ways to develop the site and use the gas to access the US and Asian markets.

BHP Billiton energy group president Philip Aiken told a briefing in December that the US was a strong, growing market with diminishing supplies and the Government of California was committed to developing new sources of natural gas.
The proposed floating terminal will be located in deep water about 40 km offshore of the city of Oxnard. The project is expected to operate at about 800 mm cfpd, or between 10 and 15 % of California's gas requirements.

Source: AP
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