Monday, June 05, 2006

Long Beach LNG on the Brink

A proposal by Mitsubishi and ConocoPhillips to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in the heart of Long Beach is teetering on the edge as its deadline is set to expire just days after City elections this week.

The developer of a proposed $700-million liquefied natural gas terminal at the Port of Long Beach is pushing to extend its contract to retain exclusive rights to build the processing plant at the harbor.

An agreement granting Sound Energy Solutions, a partnership of Mitsubishi and ConocoPhillips, the rights to build the terminal on a 25-acre harbor site is set to expire Thursday. But officials of the energy company and the port are downplaying the deadline, saying a final decision on the terminal will come after an environmental review of the project is completed this summer.

"We still have the right to say no" to the project, said Art Wong, spokesman for the port.

The board of harbor commissioners is scheduled to meet in closed session today to consider a request from the energy company to extend its contract. Under the agreement, the firm must continue to pay the harbor an annual fee of $17,425 per acre to retain sole claim to the designated project site.