Thursday, November 03, 2005

San Jose Paper: State needs LNG

It seems the trend of newspaper endorsements for building a liquefied natural gas terminal in California is headed South (literally, not figuratively).

California runs on gas, natural gas.

Half the electricity used in the state is generated by burning it. Millions of people heat their houses and and cook their meals with it.

Consumption of natural gas is up 20 percent since 1980. The California Energy Commission figures usage will grow 12 percent more in the next decade. Growing demand and limited supply create higher prices. Prices have doubled since 2002. They're expected to rise 50 percent this winter.

California has to find a way to import more natural gas. Nowhere near enough gas -- only 13 percent of what we use -- is found naturally here. The state has to import not just from other states and Canada, but from overseas.

The way to import natural gas is to supercool it to liquid, put it on ships and unload it at terminals in California, where it would be returned to a gaseous state and put into pipelines.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is transported to many places around the world, but not to California. If California is going to keep burning natural gas, the state needs at least one LNG terminal. A single terminal could supply 15 percent of the state's demand.

Well said.