After a desperate attempt to gather enough support for the Jordan Cove LNG Export project to make it feasible to federal regulators, project owner Veresen has been told to wait. It’s hard to believe that the 12 year old proposal – that started as a natural gas import scheme but evolved into a major refining plant, pipeline and export terminal in Southern Oregon – has any life left in it after all these years.
Nevertheless, yesterday FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) issued an order for “Further Consideration” when considering a re-hearing, where the company would have an opportunity to prove the public benefits stemming from the project, including showing evidence of binding deals with customers in Japan and other Pacific Rim locations. Commonly known as a Tolling Order, the delay amounts to an extension for FERC to consider issuing a rehearing and comes as no surprise.
Big questions remain about the viability of the project and the related Pacific Connector pipeline, which would link the proposed refining export facility to landlocked fracking operations in the Rockies with the construction of a 232-mile stretch of 36 inch pipe through prized farmlands, forests and under the Klamath River in Oregon. The pipeline project is backed by Williams Company, which frankly has a sketchy safety history, even compared to other pipeline companies.
Ever since the bubble popped on domestic sources of natural gas that caused the recent bust in the fracking industry, the outlook for Veresen to complete their $7 billion industrial dream doesn’t look so good.