Puerto Rico LNG project permitting advances

Friday, August 8, 2014

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released the draft EIS for Aguirre Offshore GasPort's Puerto Rico LNG project.

In May, the watchdog said that the final EIS would be issued by December 19, which sparked intense lobbying from lawmakers for FERC to prioritize permitting.

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Senator Marco Rubio and lower house representatives Joe Garcia Luis Gutierrez, Marco Rubio and Nydia Velázquez, and the island's federal affairs administration director Juan Hernández and power utility AEE executive director Juan Alicea, sent letters highlighting the project's energy diversification impact.

"The FERC staff concludes that approval of the proposed project, with the mitigation measures recommended in the EIS, would ensure that impacts in the project area would be avoided or minimized and would not be significant," the regulator said.

Daniel Bustos, chief development officer of project stakeholder Excelerate Energy, said: "We are pleased with FERC's conclusion in confirming that the project will have minimal impacts to the environment. In order to ensure we safeguard the environment, we will implement any necessary mitigation measures outlined in the final EIS."

Alicea added: "The publication of the draft represents a step forward toward our objective of reducing our dependence on oil and increasing the use of natural gas to generate electricity and succeed in lowering energy costs on the island."

Public information meetings are due to be held next month in Puerto Rico and FERC will accept comments on the draft EIS through September 28.

Pending regulatory approval, construction would begin in April 2015, Excelerate said.

BNamericas will host its second LatAm Oil & Gas Summit in Houston, Texas, on September 10-11. Click here to download the agenda.