The backers of a proposed $6 billion liquefied natural gas export terminal and pipeline on the Columbia River have decided to end the project, known as Oregon LNG.
“They told the state they were not moving forward with the pipeline or the terminal and asked the state to stop processing any permits,”said Brett VandenHeuvel, director of Columbia Riverkeeper and a longtime LNG opponent. “I think it’s a completely dead project.”
Oregon LNG did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company is owned by a New York-based holding company, Leucadia National Corporation.
The project on Oregon’s North coast faced numerous obstacles, including local opposition, denial of a key land use permit, a glut of LNG hitting the international market this year, and a recent decision by federal regulators not to permit a competing facility, Jordan Cove, proposed for Coos Bay, due to lack of demand for LNG.
Jordan Cove said it will appeal the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to deny its permits.
It has become increasingly difficult for investors to justify investing in new LNG terminals, said VandenHeuvel.
“Gas and oil are very cheap right now, and that impacts the finances of these projects, whether or not they make sense,” he said.
The price of oil has dropped to around $40 a barrel, and the price of natural gas has fallen with it.
The global LNG supply is at an all time high, mostly due to new export facilities on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in Australia. Four additional facilities are currently under construction on the Gulf Coast.
At the same time, demand is falling in Japan, the largest market in Asia, as the country starts using nuclear power again after a two-year shutdown following the Fukishima disaster.
Last month, federal energy economists with the Energy Information Administration cautioned that the market for LNG is cooling off.
“Market conditions have changed since many LNG export projects in the United States were initially proposed. Proposed LNG terminals in the United States face not only increased competition from other domestic and foreign terminals that have been completed, but they also face uncertainty in global LNG demand,” the agency wrote.