CCA Applauds Shell’s Decision to Abandon Open-Loop LNG Project

Posted on March 29, 2007

Coastal Conservation Association praised yesterday’s announcement by Shell US Gas & Power LLC to abandon plans for an open-loop liquefied natural gas terminal in the Gulf of Mexico as a victory for marine resource conservation.

“This is good news for the fish,” said CCA Louisiana Executive Director/CEO Jeff Angers.  “And it’s good news for fishermen.”
 
CCA opposed the terminal due to its use of technology that would filter and sterilize millions of gallons of seawater daily, but the federal government awarded Shell a permit to operate the open-loop facility in 2005.
 
 “Despite the best efforts of many in the conservation arena, Shell was granted a permit to operate its LNG terminal off the coast of Louisiana using technology that threatened to cause great harm to those resources,” said Pat Murray, CCA Director of Conservation. “The cancellation of this project is a good thing for the Gulf of Mexico.”
 
CCA has opposed LNG terminals that propose to use “open rack” vaporization systems, also referred to as open-loop systems. This type of LNG terminal receives imported liquefied gas and converts it back to a gaseous state by circulating seawater through a radiator-like system to reheat it. An open-loop system can filter more than 100 million gallons of seawater per day, then chlorinates it to prevent fouling in the intake pipe, creating the potential to kill billions of fish eggs, larvae and plankton annually.
 
“Once it became clear that Shell would receive its permit, CCA committed to work with the government and the company to ensure any impact on marine resources in the Gulf was reduced to an absolute minimum and was properly mitigated,” said Frederic Miller, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee and a past president of CCA Louisiana. “We were prepared to be a watchdog on this project for its 30-year lifespan. However, we never stopped working to encourage Shell to use less harmful technology. It is very fortunate that Shell has chosen this course of action.”
 
Since Shell received its permit, CCA and a host of other organizations have rallied to prevent other energy companies from being allowed to use open-loop technology in a string of LNG terminals proposed for the Gulf. That effort culminated in May 2006 with Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco’s veto of an open-loop project proposed by McMoRan Exploration just 16 miles off the state’s coastline. McMoRan has since changed its heating technology to “closed-loop” system, which is much less damaging to the marine environment, and is proceeding with its project.
 
Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi also pledged their opposition to the destructive technology, sending a strong signal to the energy industry that open-loop systems are not welcome in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
CCA is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation. With more than 90,000 members in 15 state chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. Visit www.JoinCCA.org for more information.
 
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH