Despite Claims about Imports, Corporate Connections Expose Export Future for Proposed Facility Offshore of New York & New Jersey Coast That Would Devastate the Region

Groups urge companies to come clean about their intent to export

Sandy Hook, NJ – A triangle of corporate connections makes clear the link between natural gas imports and exports for the proposed Liberty LNG Port Ambrose facility off the New York and New Jersey coast.  That was the evidence presented today by Clean Ocean Action, Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy, and the Coalition of Nassau County Civic Associations, along with many others in the broadly-based Anti-Liberty LNG coalition. 

This coalition called on Liberty LNG’s owners, West Face Capital (a Cayman Islands investment account), and project lead Roger Whelan, to come clean on the corporate energy interests of Liberty LNG’s owners that have not been disclosed to the public or to the federal agencies reviewing the port in the application.

Across the nation, energy companies by the dozen are lining up to export U.S. domestically produced natural gas – over two dozen companies have already been granted authorizations by the Department of Energy – and, under the law governing Port Ambrose simple written permission from the federal government is all that would be needed to change an import facility license to an export license.

West Face Capital, and Port Ambrose project lead Roger Whelan, have thus far failed to disclose a significant interest in another port – a facility that appears to have been built with Port Ambrose exports in mind.  Last November, Roger Whelan announced, on behalf of West Face Capital, the purchase of “Port Meridian” – a deepwater port of the exact same design as Port Ambrose.  This port, already approved for construction, anticipated to come online around the same time as Port Ambrose, would be operated by Höegh LNG – the exact same company and fleet of LNG vessels as Port Ambrose.

Höegh LNG, the partner in operations with West Face Capital, is the self-proclaimed global leader in floating liquefaction (“FLNG” - the technology needed to liquefy natural gas on a vessel moored at a Port Ambrose- and Port Meridian-style “turret buoy”); the Höegh LNG website claims: “no FLNG service provider has the same competences and capacity” and that Höegh LNG has invested over 400,000 engineering man-hours in developing this technology.

“West Face Capital bought a facility in the United Kingdom (a nation starved of natural gas supplies), and a facility in the United States (a nation where exports are being approved at a staggering rate), and set up Höegh LNG (a company leading the world in liquefaction at-sea from the same turret “STL” buoys which would be in place at both Port Ambrose and Port Meridian) to operate both ports,” summarized Sean Dixon, Coastal Policy Attorney at Clean Ocean Action.  “The evidence clearly points to this Cayman Island bank account’s plan to send U.S. natural gas overseas through its own energy bridge.” 

“While Port Ambrose and the federal government continue to claim that the sole intended use of the facility would be imports, reality is that this is a ‘bait and switch,’” warned Clean Ocean Action Executive Director Cindy Zipf.  “For the American people, our safety, our quality of life, and our environment, the stage is set for disaster if Port Ambrose is licensed.”

“Although Port Ambrose is being sold to the public as an LNG import facility, there is abundant evidence that it will actually be used to export fracked gas overseas, given that there is no viable market for imported LNG in New York City or on Long Island - I have no doubt that the current license application for an LNG import facility is a Trojan horse,” stated Bruce Ferguson with Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy.  “If Port Ambrose is licensed and used to export fracked gas, the ‘upstream impacts’ of fracking will devastate a broad swath of the Northeast, leaving Americans with contaminated drinking water, contaminated air and the destruction of important, sustainable economic industries such as agriculture and tourism. And for what? So other countries can be supplied with cheap energy, and so a foreign corporation can make a killing.”

“Keeping in mind that Nassau's south shore communities are still struggling to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, situating an exporting liquefaction facility less than 19 miles off our southern coast would stress recovering communities to the breaking point if the facility were to be damaged by a severe storm, cautioned Claudia Borecky, LNG Port Committee Chair at Coalition of Nassau Civic Associations.  “In recent weeks, LNG facilities in Yemen were reportedly on Al Queda's target list.  Situating an exporting liquefaction facility at the entrance of one of the busiest harbors in the United States would place our entire region at risk for a terrorist attack.”

Comments on the proposal are due Thursday, August 22, 2013, to the federal docket (USCG-2013-0363-0181) at www.regulations.gov.

Related Links:

1.      Read an article about the sale of Port Meridian by Höegh LNG to West Face Capital (along with quote from Project Lead Roger Whelan), HERE

2.      Read a story about the sale price of Port Meridian, HERE

3.      See Höegh LNG’s claims about floating natural gas liquefaction (including at “disconnectable turrets” like those proposed at both Ports Ambrose and Meridian), HERE