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Magnolia LNG takes another step in quest to build plant in Lake Charles

Last Modified: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 8:28 PM

By Frank DiCesare / American Press

Magnolia LNG officials announced this week that they have submitted their 13 resource reports to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a major step in the company’s quest to build an exporting plant in Lake Charles.

Magnolia’s reports cover a broad scope of the project’s environmental and engineering aspects, including water use and quality, air and noise quality, and soils information. The reports form the basis of Magnolia’s environmental impact statement to FERC, a vital part of the commission’s prefiling process.

FERC is the federal agency charged with enforcing the National Environmental Policy Act on all companies that seek to build an LNG plant. An LNG company’s EIS is its way of showing compliance with NEPA guidelines.

“This is the midway point of completing the FERC permitting process so the facility can be constructed,” said Ernie Megginson, Magnolia’s vice president of project management.

FERC will review all of Magnolia’s reports and provide feedback. The commission will work with Magnolia officials to redraft the reports so they settle any concerns that may have arisen during the review process.

Megginson said FERC’s review process is expected to go into March.

“This is the time when FERC works with us,” he added. “This is their opportunity to comment on our documents before they go public. They want to identify any issues before they allow (the reports) to go public. We have to satisfy their concerns before they allow us to go into the official filing period, which can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete.”

Once Magnolia’s reports have been redrafted, Megginson said, a FERC consultant will compile the company’s EIS based on their 13 resource reports. The EIS is then published for public comment.

During the filing period, Megginson added, FERC will solicit comments from various parties — which will be part of the NEPA finalization process the commission manages for the LNG industry.

“The filing period is a very strict public environmental assessment and review of the project,” Megginson said. “(Our file) then gets published in the federal records accessible to everybody.”

Magnolia’s estimated $3.7 billion project will consist of four LNG trains, which will be built on 120 acres near the intersection of Henry Pugh Boulevard and Big Lake Road in Lake Charles. Each train will produce 2 million tons per year of LNG, which will be stored in two, 160,000-cubic-meter cryogenic tanks. The facility will also have a berth jetty where ships will dock to receive LNG from the plant for export.

Megginson said Magnolia officials are targeting mid-2015 for FERC’s approval and notice to proceed with construction.

“We’re building the project,” he said. “You’re seeing the basic building blocks of the project coming together. As we proceed into 2014, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done, but that’s the way these major projects are put together.”

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