McMoRan Exploration Co. has received correspondence from the U.S. Coast Guard regarding
the remaining steps to be completed to obtain a Deepwater Port License for its Main Pass Energy Hub (MPEHTM) project. This information confirms McMoRan's expectation that the work completed to date will enable an expeditious processing of our license application.
McMoRan submitted an amendment to its license application with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration
(MARAD) on May 31 to obtain approval of its Main Pass Energy Hub project using Closed Loop technology.
On July 21, the Coast Guard advised McMoRan that the information provided in the amendment along with information previously provided contain sufficient information to continue processing of the license application to incorporate Closed Loop technology. The Coast Guard also advised that they will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the application amendment. The EA will focus on the changes associated with the vaporization technology which was fully evaluated as a reasonable alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement published in March 2006.
Following publication of the EA, the Coast Guard will conduct final public hearings in the adjacent coastal states, followed by a 45-day period to allow public comment and response by the Governors in the adjacent coastal states (Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama). After the 45-day comment period, MARAD has up to 45 days to issue a Record of Decision. A copy of the Coast Guard letter outlining the process is being filed with this press release on Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
McMoRan expects the EA would be published in late September 2006 with a record of decision by the end of 2006.