WASHINGTON - According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the push to import more natural gas from overseas suffered a setback in recent weeks, when two proposed terminals for receiving liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports were cancelled.

On March 10, TransCanada Corporation and ConocoPhillips announced they were suspending work on the Fairwinds LNG project in Harpswell, Maine, after the town residents voted against leasing a site for the project. On March 18, Calpine Corporation announced that public opposition had led the company to withdraw its plans for an LNG terminal near Eureka, Calif.

The growing demand for natural gas has led the DOE to call for increased imports as essential to the nation's energy future, says the agency, and LNG is the only means of importing natural gas from overseas. The oil and gas industry has responded by proposing a number of projects over the past year.

Meanwhile, uncertainty persists over the next-best solution for increasing natural gas supplies to the United States - an Alaskan natural gas pipeline. MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company announced that its subsidiary, Alaska Gas Transmission Company, has withdrawn its application to build the pipeline after failing to reach an agreement with the state of Alaska. However, TransCanada, which would have helped with the MidAmerican project, has stepped in to resume negotiations on the project.

Publication date: 04/05/2004