Cove Point could become closest export point for Marcellus gas

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Dominion's Cove Point liquid natural gas terminal in Maryland would be the closest export point for Marcellus and Utica gas if its multi-billion-dollar conversion from an import point moves ahead.

Dominion's media relations and community relations manager based at Cove Point, Karl R. Neddenien, said today that his company's interest is clear. LNG imports have fallen off with the rise of domestic natural gas production. And being close to the Marcellus and Utica shale plays -- closer than existing export terminals on the Gulf Coast -- was integral to the company's strategy.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in Dominion's favor last week in a case involving the Sierra Club. That ruling, which Judge Michele D. Hotten wrote, attempted specificity of terms to the point of including the American Heritage Dictionary's fifth-edition definition of the word "by."

So now could be as good a time as any to revisit Dominion's filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from April 1, 2013, in which it laid out the project in Lusby, Calvert County.

But first a little about the terminal.

Dominion told FERC in a filing last month the import terminal, which began as a Columbia Gas liquid natural gas project in 1972, handled about 1.8 million Mcf daily throughput. Vaporization capacity -- the amount of liquid natural gas the facility can return to a gaseous state -- is about 1 million Mcf per day. 

Storage at the facility is about 7.8 million bcf, according to the FERC filing.

The terminal connects to an underwater pipeline that meets a deep-water docking station where ships can unload liquid natural gas. From the terminal, the gas hits pipelines belonging to Washington Gas Light Co., Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co., Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. and Dominion Transmission Inc.

In April 2013, Dominion asked FERC for permission to convert the terminal to an exporter, saying it had two customers who signed 20-year contracts. Pacific Summit Energy LLC, subsidiary of Japan's Sumitomo Corp., and a subsidiary of GAIL Limited of India would account for 50 percent of the planned export capacity.

Dominion said in the filing it hoped for a FERC order allowing the change by Feb. 1, 2014.

Should the appellate court ruling stand and Dominion complete the project in 2017 as planned, it would move the potential to export Marcellus shale gas from the Gulf Coast to just one state away from Pennsylvania and West Virginia and close to production sites in Ohio and New York. 

What is it specifically they have in mind? Take a look.



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