USCG OKs McMoRan License Application

Monday, July 31, 2006
Freeport-McMoRan Exploration Co. is one step closer to obtaining a deep port license to regasify one billion cu. ft. of natural gas per day at one of its former offshore sulfur mines. The U.S. Coast Guard all but approved the request, citing “sufficient information” to continue processing the application. Once approved, McMoRan’s former $1b offshore sulfur mines will receive a $450m facelift to convert the platforms to regasify liquefied natural gas and then ship it to onshore pipelines. McMoRan amended its license application with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration May 31 to obtain approval of its Main Pass Energy Hub project using closed loop technology. The Coast Guard advised McMoRan on July 28 that the amendment along with information previously provided contain sufficient information to continue processing of the license application. The Coast Guard will prepare an environmental assessment to evaluate the application amendment, which will focus on changes associated with the vaporization technology evaluated as a reasonable alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement published in March. The Coast Guard will conduct final public hearings in adjacent coastal states followed by a 45-day period to allow public comment and response from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama governors. McMoRan expects a decision on the request by December. The former sulfur platforms 18 miles offshore and 38 miles east of Venice were closed in 2000 when the sulfur industry slumped.

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