WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday approved construction of the Broadwater Energy liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound, east of New York City.
It will be the first floating terminal in the United States for storing and delivering super-cooled LNG.
The project would be able to deliver 1.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day to fuel electric generating plants and heat homes, helping to meet energy demand in New York and Connecticut, which share the sound.
The terminal is a joint venture between Shell U.S. Gas and Power and TransCanada Corp.
FERC said it had considered the concerns many citizens raised about the project.
“Based on all available scientific facts, we approve the Broadwater project today, subject to rigorous conditions, because it can meet the projected energy needs for New York City, Long Island and Connecticut, and can provide the service safely, securely and with limited adverse impact on the environment,” FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher said.
“This decision is an important step forward in bringing new clean, reliable, affordable natural gas supply to a region where prices are volatile and climbing,” said John Hritcko, Broadwater Senior Vice President.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called the terminal an “environmental atrocity” and an “unneeded abomination.” He said he would immediately ask FERC to hold a rehearing on its decision and will fight the project all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
LNG is natural gas altered for transportation aboard special tankers. When cooled to minus 259 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 162 Celsius), the gas changes into a liquid and shrinks to less than 1/600th of its original volume.
Upon arrival at a terminal, the LNG is returned to a gaseous state and fed into pipelines.
LNG accounts for almost 4 percent of total U.S. natural gas supplies, but that is forecast to increase to 17 percent by 2030.
The Broadwater terminal would consist of a floating storage and regasification unit measuring about 1,215 feet long and 200 feet wide. It would rise about 80 feet
above the water.
The project would be located 9 miles off the New York coast near Riverhead, in Suffolk County, and 10 miles from the nearest onshore point in Connecticut.
The project would include eight LNG storage tanks capable of holding the equivalent of 8 billion cubic feet of regasified LNG.
A 22-mile pipeline extending from the terminal to a underwater interconnection with the Iroquois Gas Transmission System would bring the gas onshore.
Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Marguerita Choy