Last Modified: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:17 AM
The state Department of Environmental Quality recently approved air quality permits for G2X Energy’s methanol-to-gasoline plant, which will be built on Tank Farm Road along the Industrial Canal.
DEQ officials awarded G2X its Title V and Prevention of Significant Deterioration air permits, which are the department’s operating and construction permits, respectively. Approved earlier this month, the permits are the first steps in G2X’s quest to begin construction on the proposed $1.5 billion facility.
“They have not yet applied for a water permit, but that’s not unusual,” said Bryan Johnston, senior environmental scientist for DEQ’s permitting division. “Air permits are preconstruction, which means they have to have it before they break ground or pour concrete. Water permits are predischarge, which means they don’t need the permit until they are ready to discharge water.”
The Title V permit establishes the plants monitoring and record reporting aspects and also establishes limitations on the different pollutants that the facility will emit. The PSD permit outlines the control technologies that will be used in the facility to control its emissions.
Work on the plant is expected to begin later this year and will bring about 3,000 construction jobs to the area. The plant is also expected to create about 240 full-time jobs for engineers and plant operators.
Trey Fielder, G2X’s director of project development, said the company still has several outstanding permits that need approval before construction on the plant can begin. Among those are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Section 10 and 404 permit, a wetlands modification permit, which will allow G2X to construct two docks along the Industrial Canal.
Ricky Boyett, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson, said G2X’s permit application requires the company to submit a wetlands mitigation plan for approval. The company must also submit to the Corps their water quality permit from DEQ.
“They have the options of going with the mitigation bank, where a certain number of acres are required to mitigate; they purchase them from the bank and they are done,” Boyett said.
A mitigation bank is a private organization that develops wetlands and then sells a portion of the acreage to a developer whose work will negatively impact the area. The bank then takes the money from the developer and uses it to mitigate the area impacted by the developer.
“There are also cases where they can choose to self-mitigate, and that is where they themselves develop an area that they will mitigate and they are responsible for maintaining those wetlands for posterity,” Boyett added.
G2X’s application with the Corps also requires it to ensure that its project will not negatively impact other Corps projects along the Calcasieu River.
G2X’s plant will consist of three “modules,” the first of which will convert natural gas into methanol. The second module will take the methanol and refine it into liquid propane gas and 87-octane, zero-sulfur gasoline, using technology licensed from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. The plant is expected to produce about 12,500 barrels of these fuels each day.
The plant’s third module will consist of cooling towers, wastewater treatment and other auxiliary and emergency emission sources to support the facility.
After production, the fuel will be barged to blenders and refineries in Lake Charles, Houston, Beaumont and Baton Rouge.
Fielder declined to comment on when G2X would be submitting its application to DEQ for a water permit. He did, however, say that the company’s water suitability assessment, which was submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard in March, is still under review.
G2X must go through the WSA process because its barges will be carrying LPG. A WSA is a navigation safety and security assessment that companies compile and present to the Coast Guard for review.
Once Coast Guard officials have reviewed G2X’s WSA, they will send their letter of recommendation on the project to DEQ.
Fielder said the company will issue a Front-End Engineering and Design contract for the plant’s design and construction later this year.
“At this point we need to complete the financing for the project,” he said. “We cannot start construction until we’ve completed the financing.”
Posted By: Paul Ringo On: 6/23/2014
This is another 'expedited' permit from DEQ. The company pays thousands of dollars to DEQ then receives a permit (air and water) that is unchallenged and totally unregulated. DEQ didn't allow a public hearing for this plant despite the fact that several neighborhoods both north and south of this plant will be directly affected as will all of S. Lake Charles. There are no scrubbers or technology being required to decrease emissions despite comments made from concerned citizens requesting such technology. The people of Calcasieu parish will have to demand better representation from our local politicians and the Governor if anything is going to get better.