Annova LNG Brownsville Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.
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Annova LNG Brownsville Terminal is a proposed LNG terminal in Texas, United States. The project would add a liquefied natural gas terminal to the Port of Brownsville.

Location

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Project Details

  • Owner: Annova LNG
  • Parent: Exelon Corporation
  • Location: Brownsville, Texas, United States
  • Coordinates: 25.950835, -97.410844 (approximate)
  • Capacity: 6 mmtpa, or 1 mtpa per train[1]
  • Trains: 6
  • Status: Proposed
  • Type: Export
  • Start Year: 2025[2]

Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcfd = billion cubic feet per day

Background

Annova LNG Brownsville Terminal is a proposed LNG terminal in Texas, United States.[3] It will have six production trains.[4]

In 2015, the project went through front-end engineering design, and the project was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval. If approved, a decision on whether or not to construct the facility is expected in 2018. After a final investment decision dependent on FERC authorization, all local, state, and federal permitting, and customer commitments, equipment purchase orders and construction would begin. [5]

Project planning is ongoing. In May of 2016, Annova LNG announced their plans to slightly relocate the planned LNG to accommodate a wildlife-crossing culvert under Highway 48, a corridor used by endangered ocelots.[6] In early 2017, FERC requested that Annova LNG evaluate potential threats regarding the proposed LNG facility's proximity to SpaceX's planned Boca Chica Beach launch pad facility. [7]

In April of 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its final environmental impact statement on the project, which was mostly favorable, claiming that although the project stands to cause harm to the local environment, most of it would be reduced through Annova's mitigation proposed plan.[8] The statement cited possible "permanent and significant" impacts on three endangered species--the ocelot, the jaguarundi, and the aplomado falcon. The three species will be impacted by traffic, noise pollution, and habitat fragmentation from the project. The project will also inhibit the species' natural movements and migratory patterns.[9]

In December of 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a formal approval of the project. The Commission also approved, with conditions, the Rio Grande LNG Terminal, the Texas LNG Terminal, and the Rio Bravo Gas Pipeline, bringing the total number of FERC-approved project in 2019 to eleven. The Rio Grande LNG Terminal and the associated Rio Bravo Gas Pipeline will export 27 million metric tons of natural gas per year. The Annova LNG Brownsville Project would export up to 6 million metric tons per year. All four LNG project sponsors have applications pending before the U.S. Department of Energy seeking authorization to export gas to countries without Free Trade Agreements with the United States.[10]

In February 2020, the terminal received approval from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to export to non-free trade agreement countries. DOE authorized export of about 360 bcf/year, Annova’s optimal production capacity.[11]

In April 2020, Annova LNG received permission from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to build the terminal, which will deliver gas via the Aqua Dulce hub.[12] Annova said that the air permit from TCEQ was one of the final permits necessary to begin construction of the export facility, and that they intend to start construction sometime in 2021.[13] The energy and shipping brokerage Poten & Partners also disclosed that the final investment decision (FID) for the terminal had been delayed beyond the original FID timing of the second quarter of 2020. It cited COVID-19, plunging demand and the crash in oil prices as the reasons for the delay. [14]

Ownership

In February 2020, Enbridge bought a 10.5 percent stake in the Annova LNG Brownsville Terminal.[15]

Opposition

In April 2020, two environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The Sierra Club and Defenders for Wildlife sued the FWS in 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asking the court to review whether the agency violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when deciding that the planned construction would not threaten the survival of the medium-sized wildcat, thought to number only about 60 specimens in the United States.[16]

Following the 2019 FERC approval, opponents filed new lawsuits against the three proposed LNG terminals and one proposed gas pipeline in Brownsville, Texas, the Annova LNG Brownsville Terminal, the Rio Grande LNG Terminal, the Texas LNG Terminal, and the Rio Bravo Gas Pipeline. The three suits were filed by local residents, the city of Port Isabel and the Sierra Club. Local shrimpers and fishermen filed a suit against Rio Grande LNG and the Rio Bravo Pipeline in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval of a water permit for the plant and pipeline. The plaintiffs argue that the Corps failed to avoid or mitigate negative impacts to wetlands.[17]

In another filing, the city of Port Isabel, the Sierra Club and two grassroots organizations filed two lawsuits challenging the FERC’s approval of the Annanova LNG and Texas LNG projects. The suits were filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit in Washington, D.C. The suits are asking that the federal permits be reviewed and overturned by a federal judge. The suits argue that FERC’s socioeconomic and environmental justice studies were flawed, as was FERC’s ruling that the LNG facilities are in the public interest. Those groups have a similar lawsuit filed against FERC’s approval of the Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline. LNG opponents contend that the LNG facilities in Brownsville would create safety and environmental concerns, impact local fishermen, destroy wetlands, threaten wildlife, and hurt tourism. It would also create air pollution problems in the Rio Grande Valley, an impoverished area largely home to traditionally marginalized communities, disproportionately impacting the Latino community, a potential violation of federal law. Port Isabel, a Brownsville neighbor, is opposed to the LNG project and is also party in a separate lawsuit that is pending in Texas courts.[17]

Articles and resources

References

  1. FERC Approves Four LNG Export Projects Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, November 21, 2019
  2. 2020 World LNG Report, page 102, International Gas Union, April 27, 2020
  3. The Project, Annova LNG, accessed May 2017
  4. Annova LNG Export Terminal, Brownville, Texas NS Energy, accessed July 2019
  5. The Project, Annova LNG, accessed May 2017
  6. The Brownsville Herald: Annova LNG Slightly Moving Project to Accomodate Ocelots, Annova LNG, 5 May 2016
  7. Safety evaluated for LNG facilities, The Brownsville Herald, 29 March 2017
  8. Carl SurranFERC moves closer to approving Exelon's Annova LNG project Seeking Alpha, Apr. 22, 2019
  9. Sergio ChapaFeds echo endangered species concerns in Annova LNG review Chron, April 19, 2019
  10. FERC Approves Four LNG Export Projects Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, November 21, 2019
  11. Annova LNG gets Texas OK for Brownsville plant Oil and Gas Journal, April 13, 2020
  12. Annova LNG gets Texas OK for Brownsville plant Oil and Gas Journal, April 13, 2020
  13. Jamison Cocklin, LNG Recap: U.S. Natural Gas Lands in China for First Time in 13 months Natural Gas Intel, April 20, 2020
  14. John Snyder FID’s delayed by global uncertainty Riviera Maritime Media, Apr. 24, 2020
  15. [1] Houston Chronicle, February 14, 2020
  16. Sebastien Malo, IN BRIEF: Green groups challenge approval of Texas gas terminal citing rare wildcat Reuters, April 20, 2020
  17. 17.0 17.1 Three lawsuits filed against Brownsville LNG projects Kallanish Energy, March 31, 2020

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