Friday, March 13, 2015

Longview Port Commission Rejects Terminal Proposal

By Mark Edward Nero

On March 10, the Port of Longview’s three-person commission voted to go against the recommendation of the port’s CEO and reject a proposal to place a propane and butane terminal at the port.

In March 2014, the port entered a one-year exclusive negotiating period with Haven Energy Terminals, during which Haven was allowed to evaluate the feasibility of a terminal at the port.

Haven Energy, a subsidiary of Houston-based natural gas-related infrastructure company Sage Midstream, had proposed an export facility to move propane and butane currently being flared in the Midwest to energy markets around the Pacific Rim. The company was looking at building a unit train-accessible rail unloading facility, storage tanks and ship loading area at the port with the ability to load marine vessels with a capacity of up to 550,000 barrels. The proposal called for the cargo to be railed to the port from North Dakota and South Dakota, then refrigerated and stored on site before being loaded to vessels for export to Hawaii, Mexico and Asia.

The port commission’s unanimous decision to kill the possibility of building the terminal came after several discussion meetings and after the port received hundreds of emails and other comments from the community about the proposal.

Port Chief Executive Officer Geir Kalhagen had recommended that the port consider the lease based on its economic benefits.

“Based on the revenue it would bring to the port and how we could leverage this project as a stepping stone for future development, I recommended the Board of Commissioners consider the lease,” Kalhagen said.

However, the port commission said they decided not to enter into the lease agreement for several reasons, including that the project was better sited elsewhere and provide too few jobs to justify the risks presented.

“While the Commission doesn’t feel this particular project is a good fit, we’re confident additional opportunities are on the horizon,” Port Commission President Bob Bagaason said in a statement.