Maine Gas Export Project Said to Be Sidelined by Pipeline Woes

  • Downeast LNG latest gas export plant to hang in limbo
  • Terminal shelved as bottlenecks threaten high gas prices

A liquefied natural gas export terminal proposed for Maine is being shelved as a lack of new pipelines serving New England threatens to limit access to cheap shale supplies of the power-plant fuel.

Plans for the Yorktown Partners-backed Downeast LNG project have been suspended indefinitely as new pipelines that promised to deliver cheap supplies to the region were canceled or hang in limbo, a person with direct knowledge of the project said by phone Wednesday. The project depends on access to gas at a reasonable cost, which won’t be available if new lines aren’t built, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The terminal proposed in Robbinston, a town on the easternmost tip of the U.S. near where the St. Croix River discharges into the Bay of Fundy, adds to a growing list of projects that have been sidelined or scrapped as producers from the Gulf of Mexico to Australia exacerbate a global glut of the super-chilled fuel. The suspension of the project also comes as pipeline developers in New England face opposition from environmentalists and plunging gas prices undermine the economics of their projects.

Supply Bottlenecks

Kinder Morgan Inc. shelved in April its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project due to a lack of customers. Earlier this week, Eversource Energy withdrew an application in Massachusetts for its Access Northeast pipeline after a court ruled the state regulator lacked authority to approve contracts needed to finance the project.

The LNG terminal was already facing an uncertain future after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission terminated the developer’s application to build and run the plant, citing a lack of progress. George Petrides, board chairman for Downeast LNG, declined to comment.

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