Xantus's Murrelets and Chevron
Is anyone (outside the seabird community) aware of Chevron's plans to
construct a huge offshore LNG terminal/platform 1/3 mile off the
Coronados Islands? Such a structure will likely decimate the world's
largest remaining Xantus's Murrelet colony (and erase years of
restoration success on the islands) due to light-disoriented birds
impacting the structure. This project seems to be off the radar
screen of major conservation groups. I'd be interested to know if
any group is attempting to challenge these plans.
Here's a news article:
ChevronTexaco plans major LNG terminal off Baja California coast
31-10-03 ChevronTexaco revealed plans to build a $ 650 mm LNG
and regasification terminal eight miles off the Baja California coast
near the Coronado Islands.
"There's none like it currently in the world," ChevronTexaco Mexico
director Carlos Atallah said, adding that similar structures such as
rigs have been operating offshore for decades in rougher seas. "We're
taking an existing technology, and we're using it differently,"
ChevronTexaco decided to go off shore, he said, because area residents
have strongly objected to competing energy firms' plans to build LNG
terminals on the coast. Unlike those projects, Atallah said, the
offshore terminal located about a third of a mile from the Coronados
halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito Beach requires less
is less visible from the shore and doesn't pose a safety or security
threat to coastal residents. He also said there will be minimal impact
to the environment.
"We believe it's the best project for Baja California," Atallah said.
"It's very tourism-friendly." The San Ramon-based firm, the
second-largest US oil company, revealed it is considering building two
additional LNG receiving terminals in California, one in Northern
California. "We are looking at both onshore and offshore," director of
engineering David Macdonald said.
ChevronTexaco also plans to build an LNG receiving terminal off of
Louisiana. Referred to as the Port Pelican project, it is being
by US government authorities. The company said it has awarded
engineering and construction management contracts to Aker Kvaerner and
Fluor for both the Louisiana and Baja projects.
The Baja California terminal would be a fixed 980-foot-long concrete
island with two regasification plants, storage tanks, a heliport and a
dock that would receive about four LNG tankers each week. About 1,200
employees would live and work aboard the structure in 14-day shifts.
Initially, the facility would process 700 mm cfpd of natural gas and
eventually boost production to 1,400 mm cfpd. The market price for the
gas will probably range between $ 3.50 and $ 4 per cf, Macdonald said.
The terminal is expected to start operating by the end of 2007.
"Initially, we plan to sell 20 % of the gas in Baja California and the
remainder to the United States," Atallah said. "Our interest, however,
is to sell more here."
ChevronTexaco has filed for permits with Mexico's energy regulatory
commission, environmental agency and communications and transportation
secretariat. Mexico's Energy Regulatory Commission has never issued a
permit for an offshore LNG facility. Last January, commission
Dionisio Perez-Jacome said the agency is considering rules for such
projects but that the process would lag months, if not years, behind
process for the onshore terminals. The commission has issued Marathon
Oil, Sempra Energy and Shell permits to develop LNG receiving
in Baja California.
"The commission is still looking into the (ChevronTexaco) project,"
commission spokesman Victor Ochoa said. ChevronTexaco initially
submitted a permit request for an onshore facility but recently
it to offshore, he said. Because the only onshore aspect of the
company's proposal will be a pipeline and valves, it does not need
of the permits that have proven challenging for the onshore
Local opposition prompted Mexico's environmental agency to deny El
and Phillips Petroleum a permit for a project the companies planned to
build at Rosarito Beach. Tijuana has yet to issue a land-use permit
would allow Marathon to build south of the Playas suburb, but Ensenada
has given Shell and Sempra the go-ahead to develop their projects on
pristine Costa Azul adjacent to Bajamar.
Baja California Gov. Eugenio Elorduy Walther has long touted Sempra's
proposal as the type that would benefit the region. ChevronTexaco has
met with the state's economic development officials but has yet to
a meeting with the governor, Atallah said.
Reaction to the company's announcement was guarded among area LNG
"They've obviously decided offshore is the best solution because it
would generate less controversy," said Eduardo Orozco, who coordinated
LNG opposition in Rosarito Beach. "But there are considerations for
whales and other marine life."
Juan Guillermo Lutz of Vecinos Playas in Tijuana said his group has
asked ChevronTexaco for more information. "Location is only one of the
problems," he said. "There's a lot of trouble with environmental
contamination. And the economic results are not for Mexico. They're
the United States."
The regasification facility is only one part of the global supply
to deliver natural gas from faraway regions, where supplies are
plentiful, to the California-northern Mexico region, where supplies
reportedly are running scarce.
ChevronTexaco plans to spend an additional $ 3.35 bn for a pipeline,
liquefaction plant and tankers to bring the fuel across the Pacific
Ocean. In August, the company announced it had signed a memorandum of
understanding with the Gorgon Joint Venture in Australia for a supply
2 mm tons of LNG over a 20-year period. Shell also has a memorandum of
understanding with Gorgon.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune