Monday, May 10, 2010

NorthernStar suspends Bradwood Landing LNG terminal in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. - NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. said on May 4 that it is suspending efforts to develop a liquefied natural gas import terminal at
Bradwood Landing on the Columbia River, 25 miles east of Astoria.
The announcement ends a six-year effort that consumed as much as $100
million of investors' capital and countless hours of regulatory work while sparking a firestorm of public opposition from property owners and environmentalists.
The Houston-based energy development company sent out a one-page news release on May 4 quoting NorthernStar President Paul Soanes saying extended delays in state and federal permitting and the difficult investment environment "have forced us to suspend development."
The company characterized its move as a "suspension" of the project, not a termination.
Mike Carrier, natural resources policy director for Gov. Ted Kulongoski, said the company told him on May 4 that another developer could conceivably resurrect the project. But Carrier said the company told him its financial backer, a private equity fund that has put $100 million into the company's LNG proposals in Oregon and California, was pulling the plug.
NorthernStar began development work nearly six years ago at an abandoned mill site on the lower Columbia River. At the time, gas prices were high and importing the commodity to the United States from abroad seemed like a lucrative opportunity.
Bradwood's suspension also has implications for a controversial 200-mile pipeline that Northwest Natural Gas Co. and TransCanada Corp. were planning to build to connect the LNG terminal with an interstate pipeline in central Oregon near Maupin.

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