Safety

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas in a liquid form. LNG has significantly less volume than its gas form, making it easier to store and transport to markets around the world.
LNG Vessel

The Oregon Department of Energy is the lead state agency to ensure the safety and security of potential LN​G facilities.

An LNG import or export facility would most likely be sited along the Oregon coast or Columbia River, which means the facility could be affected by natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires, and winter storms. Facilities would also have to be prepared for man-made events like industrial accidents or fires, spills, terrorism, bomb threats, civil disturbances, or violence in the workplace. An incident at an LNG facility could have a negative impact on Oregonians working at the facility, living near the terminals, or working, living, or recreating along the LNG vessel transit routes.

As the Governor’s designated lead state agency protecting Oregon’s interest in the potential siting of LNG facilities, ODOE has been working with LNG developers, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), other state agencies, and local emergency response organizations since 2004. ODOE’s goal is to ensure that all safety and security issues are identified and resolved adequately to protect public health and safety should the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approve the construction and operation of one or more LNG terminals in Oregon.


Emergency Response Plan

FERC designated USCG to work with LNG developers, ODOE, and affected local emergency response organizations to develop a comprehensive facility and waterway Emergency Response Plan (ERP) for each proposed project. The ERP is designed to identify activities in all areas of emergency management, which include:

  • ​Mitigation: activities which eliminate or reduce the probability of an LNG disaster.
  • Preparedness: activities to train and prepare decision-makers and emergency workers to respond to an LNG event prior to an actual incident. This includes better understanding the LNG infrastructure and agency roles and responsibilities, identifying key assets, and conducting drills and exercises that test the effectiveness of response plans and strategies to more effectively protect public health and safety in the event of an emergency.
  • Response: activities to be taken to prevent loss of life and property and to provide emergency assistance during an incident as described in the ERP.
  • Recovery/Restoration: short and long-term activities to return all systems to normal status.

 

Cost Share Plan

Developing the ERP includes identifying resource gaps such as personnel, facilities, equipment, and systems to implement the ERP. FERC requires LNG developers to develop a cost-share plan to pay for state and local emergency preparedness activities and resource needs throughout the life of each proposed project.


Memorandum of Understanding

With each LNG developer having its own approach and interpretation for what is considered “adequate” emergency preparedness activities and resource needs, ODOE established minimum state standards for LNG emergency preparedness and response in Oregon. ODOE formalized the established minimum state standards for LNG emergency preparedness and response into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

FERC recognized the importance of the MOU and now requires each proposed LNG developer to enter into a MOU with ODOE. The MOU demonstrates an LNG developer’s commitment to providing adequate safety and security planning activities and resources throughout the life of the project. This includes providing the necessary funding required to implement the ERP.

Signing the MOU with ODOE shows only an LNG developer’s intent to meet state safety and security standards. Developers must provide ODOE three documents for review and evaluation of whether an applicant’s emergency preparedness approach meets state established standards. This includes:

  1. Emergency Response Plan;
  2. Resource List that identifies gaps in personnel, facilities, equipment and systems needed to implement the ERP; and
  3. Cost-Share Agreement with state and local agencies for activities and resources identified in the ERP and Resource List. 
  4. The USCG requires state approval of the ERP prior to construction.

 

Oversight

Should one or more LNG terminals be sited, constructed, and become operational in Oregon, ODOE is responsible for overseeing all emergency preparedness activities throughout the life of each project. 


LNG Background

​​​​​​LNG is natural gas in a liquid form. It is turned into a liquid by cooling the gas to around -260°F (-160°C). This shrinks the volume of the gas 600 times, making it easier to store and transport to markets around the world. When LNG reaches its destination, it is heated at a regasification facility, which returns it to a gas form. It is then piped to homes, businesses and industries.

Beginning in the early-to-mid 2000s, a number of energy companies and developers began investigating the potential of constructing LNG import terminals in multiple locations in Oregon – both along the Columbia River and near Coos Bay on the Pacific Coast. The intent was to bring natural gas from large natural gas producing countries for use in the Western United States. At that time, the siting of such facilities fell within the purview of Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council.

In August 2005, President Bush signed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005 giving FERC exclusive authority to approve or deny the siting, construction, expansion or operation of LNG terminals located onshore or in state waters. Recognizing the importance of participating in the federal review process, the Governor designated ODOE as the lead state agency for ensuring that Oregon’s interests are addressed in the federal FERC siting process for LNG facilities and associated pipeline projects. Additionally, ODOE has been delegated the responsibilities for emergency preparedness for LNG facilities (ORS 469). This means that it is ODOE’s responsibility to ensure there is a plan in place to protect citizens from LNG leaks and fires, should a terminal be built, and to provide oversight throughout the life of the project.

Five proposals to build import terminals in Oregon have been considered in recent years: four on the Columbia River and one in Coos Bay. 

Today, there is just one active proposal​ for an LNG export terminal located in Coos Bay, as well as an associated natural gas pipeline from Malin to Coos Bay.

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Federal Resources
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

State Resources

Proposed Oregon Projects

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​Contact Safety & Emergency Planning:
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​Contact the Facility Siting Team:
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