July 31, 2007
Woodside Natural Gas commits to U.S. flag for Oceanway
Woodside Natural Gas yesterday announced a commitment to U.S. staffing and flagging of two LNG regasification ships at its proposed OceanWay natural gas project off California.
OceanWay will use a ship and buoy system to deliver gas to California, unloading at two buoys more than 28 miles offshore, southwest of the Los Angeles Hyperion sewage treatment plant, and connecting into the existing gas network via undersea pipelines.
Under an agreement signed yesterday by Steve Larson, President of Woodside Natural Gas and U.S. Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton, Woodside will register two new LNG regasification vessels under the U.S. flag.
They will be the first LNG vessels on the U.S. registry since 1999.
Both regasification ships will employ officers and crews of U.S. licensed mariners once the ships are U.S.-flagged.
Woodside will also work with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, state maritime academies, and other certified training facilities as sources for cadets and unlicensed seafaring personnel, offering training opportunities on natural gas cargo ships.
Woodside's application to build the deepwater port terminal must be approved by the Governor of California and the Maritime Administration after vigorous technical and environmental review as well as public comment.
The initial public "scoping" hearing for this project is expected in mid-September in Los Angeles.
Under Public Law 109-241 enacted in 2006, section 4 of the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1503) was amended to add: "To promote the security of the United States, the Secretary shall give top priority to the processing of a license under this Act for liquefied natural gas facilities that will be supplied with liquefied natural gas by United States flag vessels."
Because of Woodside's commitment to utilize U.S. flag vessels, and in accordance with the law, the Maritime Administration intends to grant Woodside's application priority status. Though the application will undergo the same comprehensive and objective review and analysis given to other applications, Marad says that Woodside's application will become "first and foremost" for review and internal management purposes. That is, the OceanWay application will be the principal focus of the Administration's licensing team until a Record of Decision is issued for this project.