Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What is the Jordan Cove Energy Project?
- A: The Jordan Cove Energy Project is a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal and storage facility to be located on the bay side of the North Spit of Coos Bay, Oregon.
The proposed facility will include:
- A loading and off-loading terminal for an ocean-going LNG vessel.
- Two onshore, state-of-the-art, full-containment LNG storage tanks.
- An associated natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant capable of supplying the electric requirements of the Jordan Cove Energy Project as well as the capability to provide power to the local utility grid.
- Q: How many people will the facility employ when fully constructed?
- A: The Jordan Cove facilities will create approximately 150 direct jobs, 55 indirect jobs (Sheriff's deputies, firefighters, tugboat crews and emergency planners), 400 other indirect jobs and 180 induced jobs. Altogether, this is a total of more than 750 permanent family-wage jobs in Southwest Oregon.
- Q: How many construction jobs do you anticipate?
- A: The construction of the Jordan Cove Energy Project will take approximately 42 months, once all permitting and regulatory approvals are final. The construction employment should average more than 900 workers with peak construction employing about 2,100 workers.
- Q: Where are there similar facilities to the Jordan Cove Energy Project?
- A: There are over 100 LNG storage facilities located throughout the United States. Most of these facilities are designed to liquefy natural gas and store LNG during the summer months then to regasify for send-out during the winter months. There are four such facilities in the Pacific Northwest (Plymouth, Washington; Nampa, Idaho: Portland, Oregon and Newport, Oregon).
- Q: How often will the LNG ships call on the Port of Coos Bay?
- A: Although actual utilization will be determined by terminal user requirements, the facility is being designed to accommodate an average of about two vessel calls per week.
- Q: How long will the LNG ships be in port?
- A: This will vary based upon vessel size but it is anticipated that an average vessel will spend less than 24 hours in port.
- Q: Is the transport and storage of LNG safe?
- A: The LNG industry has an exemplary safety record, particularly because the industry works under stringent design, operation and maintenance standards and regulations. LNG has been transported on the oceans for 45 years and stored in the United States for over 40, and there have been very few accidents. Most of those, while occurring at LNG storage sites, were attributable to some factor other than a release of LNG.
- Q: What is the safety record of transporting LNG?
- A: Since England received the first shipment of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) via ocean-going vessel in 1964, there have been more than 105,000 LNG vessel voyages, sailing more than 128 million miles without an accident involving loss of life or harm to the environment.
The shipping and handling of any fuel – whether coal, gasoline, propane or LNG – engenders some element of risk.
However, the design and construction of LNG vessels makes them the most expensive vessels in the global commercial fleet. They are specifically designed and insulated to transport the ultra-cold LNG. They are double-hulled and multi-compartmented, which means that it would be very difficult for the entire load to spill, because several compartments would have to be breached. Finally, multiple layers of internal insulation limit evaporation of the LNG, and the “boil-off” – LNG that does evaporate – is captured and used as vessel fuel.
Since 1964, there have been just eight incidents reported on LNG vessels – six small spills on deck, one 40-gallon spill on deck, and one small fire caused by a lightning strike during routine venting. No injuries or deaths have been reported from incidents on LNG vessels.
- Q: What is the safety record of storing LNG?
- A: There are LNG storage facilities located throughout the world. Japan receives more than 96 percent of its natural gas via ocean-going vessel, and has 28 receiving terminals and storage facilities, including four in Tokyo Bay. Korea, Taiwan, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, the Dominican Republic and the United States also have LNG receiving and storage terminals.
All of these facilities have been operating for many years – some for more than 40 – and none of them have experienced a serious incident. The most serious LNG incident occurred in 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Q: What steps will be taken to provide shipping and terminal safety?
- A: The design and construction of LNG vessels makes them the most expensive vessels in the global commercial fleet. The LNG fleet has one of the most exemplary safety records in the maritime industry.
The Jordan Cove Energy Project is required to take certain precautions that will make the vessel coming into Coos Bay as safe as possible:
- The Coast Guard will establish escort requirements and regulated navigation area and exclusion zones for the transit of an LNG vessel from open waters to its berth and back out again.
- The vessels must comply with all related elements of the new Maritime Security Act, including a plan for preventing and responding to attempted acts of terrorism.
- Every vessel transit into or out of Coos Bay will be piloted by licensed and certified pilot with special credentials to pilot vessels in the Port of Coos Bay.
- The terminal will be surrounded by a double fence and have 24-hour video surveillance. When a vessel is in port, it will be guarded 24 hours-a-day.
- Q: What government agencies regulate the activities of the import terminal and the storage facility?
- A: There are many federal and state agencies that will regulate various activities at the Jordan Cove Energy Project. They include:
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- U.S. Corp of Engineers
- U.S. Maritime Administration
- U.S. Coast Guard
- Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
- Oregon Department of Energy
- Q: What codes regulate safety?
- A: There are three primary LNG-specific codes and standards that form the basis of regulating safety and security issues for LNG facilities in the United States. In addition to their own requirements, these laws reference many other codes and standards. The primary standards are:
NFPA 59A "Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)"
This standard was first developed in the late 1960s and has been revised and updated by a committee which includes a broad spectrum of experts including government, US Coast Guard, US Department of Transportation, insurance companies, fire service, etc. It has been used worldwide and is either directly or indirectly a part of the requirements of many countries. NFPA standards are consensus standards and become legally enforceable when adopted by an "authority having jurisdiction". The federal government has adopted NFPA 59A, with a few additional requirements (see 49 CFR 193) as the operative regulation.
49 CFR Part 193 "Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities: Federal Safety Standards"
The authority having jurisdiction for LNG safety is the US Department of Transportation (US DOT), including the very active participation of the US DOT Research and Special Projects Administration (RSPA), US Coast Guard and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the NFPA process.
33 CFR Part 127 "Waterfront Facilities Handling Liquefied Natural Gas and Liquefied Hazardous Gas"
As the federal government developed its LNG regulations in the 1970s, it became apparent that a jurisdictional overlap developed between the federal Office of Pipeline Safety, which had responsibility for all natural gas facilities, and the US Coast Guard, which had responsibility for all marine terminals. An LNG import terminal has both the aspects of a natural gas pipeline and a marine terminal. The resolution to this overlap is that by 33 CFR Part 127, the US Coast Guard has jurisdiction for ship operations, the marine facilities and the unloading equipment. The remainder of the facility falls under 49 CFR Part 193. The requirements of these two codes are consistent.
- Q: Has Jordan Cove made a commitment to provide emergency response resources to operate the Jordan Cove LNG terminal?
- A: Yes. Jordan Cove will be building the Southwest Oregon Regional Safety Center (SORSC) fire and safety complex on the North Spit. The SORSC will include a full-time professionally staffed fire station and emergency response crews dedicated to the Jordan Cove facility (paid for by Jordan Cove); a Coos County Sheriff’s substation; offices for the Port and U.S. Coast Guard; and world class training facilities. Additionally, Jordan Cove is going to partner with the Southwest Oregon Community College (SWOCC) to create an LNG Fire Training Center – a first on the West Coast. There is only one other program like it at Texas A&M. As expanded use of LNG as a maritime and surface transportation fuel will increase the need for special LNG training, SWOCC and Coos Bay will be poised to be the West Coast center for this specialized training.
- Q: Will the local community's safety and security be adequately addressed through the FERC process?
- A: Yes. As part of its review process, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will ensure the safety and security of the local community. In fact, FERC will not approve the Jordan Cove Energy Project if safety and security is not addressed.
In addition to FERC, federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, Maritime Administration and the United States Coast Guard will specifically analyze safety and security measures.
- Q: What will be the effect of the Jordan Cove Energy Facility on the environment?
- A: The proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project facilities will be subject to stringent environmental review to insure that the construction and operation of the facilities will have minimal environmental impact.
- Q: What would be the environmental effects to fish and sea life if there is a release of LNG into the ocean?
- A: There has never been a significant LNG cargo release in the 45 years since LNG has been transported via ocean-going vessel. However, vaporizing LNG is not soluble in water and any liquid released on the ocean would quickly evaporate, so no possibility exists of water contamination.
LNG is non-toxic and it does not enter into any chemical reactions unless it is ignited. Even if it is ignited on the water, it would quickly burn off. Direct physical contact with LNG might cause injury due to the very cold temperature, but there would not be any long-term residual toxic or harmful effects.
- Q: Will fish habitat be lost as a result of this project?
- A: Jordan Cove aims to minimize impacts to the environment. Any impacts to fish habitat will be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement and mitigations will be determined prior to permit approval and construction. Any fish habitat that is lost will be replaced by an equal or better quality habitat at a ratio of 2.5 times. In other words, if 1 acre of habitat is damaged, it has to be replaced with 2.5 acres of equivalent or better habitat. This is enforced by Oregon and Federal agencies.
- Q: Will the Jordan Cove Energy Project impact fishing and tourism in Coos Bay?
- A: The movement of LNG vessels is rigorously scheduled and made publicly available. JCEP will be providing a PORTS system for the Port of Coos Bay. The PORTS system is a public information database where all maritime activities within the Port are scheduled and updated on a continuous basis. JCEP must notify the USCG a minimum of 72 hours before the arrival of an LNG vessel, the PORTS system will also be provided this notification. The 72 hour notice will identify the date and time of the ship's arrival and, unless altered by the USCG, this plan will be followed to the letter. Once the LNG vessel enters the jetties other small vessels within the navigation channel will be asked to move to the side of the federal navigation channel until the LNG ship passes. The entire transit from when the pilot takes control at the “K” buoy (two miles off-shore) until the LNG vessel is tied fast to the JCEP terminal dock will last approximately 90 minutes. At an average transit speed of 5 knots, the average fisherman who might be fishing within the navigation channel will be asked to stand aside for less than five minutes while the LNG ship passes. After the vessel passes, the fisherman can return to the channel and resume prior activities. With 90 or fewer LNG transits per year, this short interference would occur fewer than 4 times per week. As an example, most fishermen in the waterway would also observe the same courtesy to a chip ship.
- Q: Will in-water work (digging out the new slips, conducting new dredging, etc.) harm aquatic life in the Bay?
- A: Jordan Cove has had to conduct sampling of the material that will be dredged to create the slip and access channel. These samples were submitted to the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) who confirmed that the material did not contain contaminants. While there may have been contaminated sediments found elsewhere in the bay all of the samples taken and tests provided to the EPA and the USACE proved to be clean. JCEP will be required to continuously sample as the dredging is conducted to monitor the cleanliness of the sediments. All of the dredged material will then be removed from the bay and placed upland. Federal environmental monitors will be permanently on-site to oversee this and all other activities that could be a potential source of environmental impact.
- Q: Will Jordan Cove be able to move project materials and equipment to the worksite without clogging the roads and harming tourism and other local businesses?
- A: Jordan Cove will move a very small amount of material using over-the-road transport, as both the size and volume of much of the materials make transportation by road impractical. Most of the materials will arrive at the construction site by barge. Additionally, Coos Bay has the advantage of being served by the Coos Bay Rail Link, which can be utilized to transport bulk materials (aggregate, cement, pipe, etc.) to avoid overloading the limited capacity highway systems that serve Coos Bay.
- Q: What role does FERC play in the approval of the Jordan Cove Energy Project?
- A: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the lead federal agency and is the author (along with Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, EPA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the entire single federal action (approval of the Project). Thus, FERC's role is the coordinator and expeditor of all of the other federal agencies oversight roles for the various NEPA environmental review aspects of the Project. In addition, FERC is responsible for reviewing the design, and ultimately the operation, of an LNG facility. Only FERC can authorize the construction and operation of an LNG facility connected to an interstate pipeline. FERC also has responsibility to approve the transportation rate that the pipeline will charge to shippers on the pipeline.
- Q: What exactly does the FERC process entail?
- A: The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process can be broken down into a series of steps:
NOTE: Once an application is submitted to FERC, the agency will post it and every other communication and document on the FERC website. Everyone has access to all of the information at the same time so even though FERC might take up to six months to produce a draft EIS, all of the information, data requests and responses are available to the public in a real time basis on the website.
- Project Proponent submits an application to FERC with all of the documentation needed by FERC and other Federal agencies to understand all of the environmental impacts associated with the Project.
- FERC and the other Federal Agencies (Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, EPA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) then review all the information (thousands of pages of documents) to determine whether the applicant complies with all of the Federal environmental regulations that are applicable. If FERC finds deficiencies, data gaps or a need for clarification, the agency will send out formal requests for information to the applicant who must provide timely responses.
- Once all of the agencies review these additional data responses and are comfortable that they understand the full impact of the project, FERC, in conjunction with all of the other Federal agencies named above, will issue a draft EIS for public review and comment.
- FERC will then hold comment meetings and receive oral as well as written comments on the draft EIS to gather any additional public input. After taking all of the public input, FERC will require the Proponent to respond to each and every public comment. Once FERC has assessed anything new that is brought to the agency's attention by the public they will issue a final EIS with a recommendation to the FERC commissioners to either approve, approve with conditions or disapprove the application.
- The FERC Commissioners will meet to make a final decision as to whether the application should be approved or denied.