Tuesday, November 13, 2007

LNG Proposals Persist in Ventura

Although Australian resources giant BHP Billiton recently abandoned plans to build a liquefied natual gas terminal along the Ventura County coast, two proposals remain in the, er, pipeline.

Houston-based NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. is seeking to convert an oil platform 12.6miles off the coast of Oxnard into a liquefied natural gas terminal that could produce up to 1.4billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Meanwhile, Woodside Natural Gas is hoping to establish a plant 27miles off the coast near Los Angeles International Airport using an offshore buoy system.

Experts said the proposals are among nearly a dozen along the coast intended to meet growing demand for natural gas - seen as a more environmentally friendly fuel source than oil or coal - as domestic supplies run dry and more states vie for California's supply of natural gas.

Economic arguments made against the Cabrillo Port proposal seem less relevant now given the comparative price of oil to natural gas. With oil approaching $100 a barrell, the BTU-cost of natural gas is now about half that of oil--meaning that the costs of importation could be easily absorbed before there is pricing parity on a BTU-level.