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.
The Oregon Department of Energy is the lead state agency to
ensure the safety and security of potential LNG 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
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.
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
- 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.
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
- Emergency Response Plan;
- Resource List that identifies gaps in personnel,
facilities, equipment and systems needed to implement the ERP; and
- Cost-Share Agreement with state and local
agencies for activities and resources identified in the ERP and Resource
- The USCG requires state approval of the ERP prior to
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 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
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.