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LNG Proposal
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The Proposed Project

Bechtel and Shell propose to build a massive Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) receiving and offloading terminal and power plant on the southern end of Mare Island in Vallejo, California. This facility would include a 900-megawatt electricity generating power plant, a tanker offloading terminal, an LNG regassification plant, and two to three LNG storage tanks estimated to be as large as 150-feet high (15 stories) and 250-feet wide. The storage tanks would hold 3,531,450 cubic feet of LNG -- the equivalent of 26 million gallons.

Click to enlarge photograph

The receiving/offloading terminal at the southeast end of Mare Island would include a pier projecting into the junction between the Carquinez and Mare Island straits. The LNG would be offloaded from the tankers and piped into the massive storage tanks, built on the small flat portion of landfill.

LNG is natural gas that has been chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, turning it into a clear, colorless liquid. Bechtel-Shell's proposal for Mare Island would include an LNG regassification facility that would turn LNG back into natural gas. Bechtel-Shell would send some natural gas through a pipeline under the Carquinez Straight and over land to Antioch, where it will be joined with the natural gas power grid system. They would also use some of the natural gas to power the electrical power plant.

The power plant itself is proposed to be placed on the former Navy ordnance manufacturing facility on the eastern side of the Island, facing the city of Vallejo, in plain view of all those living in or visiting the neighborhoods that populate the hills of West Vallejo or the downtown or waterfront areas.

The plant will generate a significant amount of energy which Bechtel and Shell will also sell to the power grid, by way of electrical lines in a "transmission corridor." At this time Bechtel-Shell will not confirm where they intend to build the transmission corridor. They have recently claimed they will move the lines south in a similar path as the natural gas. However, there is great concern that their ultimate plan is to build a huge transmission corridor through the neighborhoods of south Vallejo, requiring the use of eminent domain to move families from their homes and make way for the power lines.

What do Bechtel and Shell Stand to Gain from this Project?

If Bechtel and Shell are allowed to build this LNG gas and power plants, they will become two of the biggest players in the California energy market -- passing approximately $4 million in gas into the California energy grid every day. The plants would be able to provide about 17 percent of the state's gas and 3 percent of the state's power by 2010.

Why Mare Island?

According to Bechtel representative Alison Abbott, the two main criteria that attracted Bechtel-Shell to Mare Island were deep water and its proximity to the PG&E pipeline terminus in Antioch. But we don't have a deep-water port -- they'd have to create one with extensive dredging and by destroying major elements of the San Pablo Bay landscape to create one.

Considering the lack of a major deep-water port, unobstructed access to the land-based terminal, and proximity to the gas and electricity grid, this is hardly an ideal location for this project. Nevertheless, Bechtel-Shell have another reason for coming to Vallejo: they desperately want to get the first LNG facility on the U.S. West Coast before their competitors. And their perception of Vallejo is that we are a low-income, fairly uninvolved community that would be less able to oppose their LULU project than other towns on the West Coast.

Background - LNG Proposal - Risks & Dangers - Myths & Facts - Bechtel Worldwide - News - Our Politicians - What You Can Do
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© 2002 maggdog communications
Photos courtesy of Michael Halberstadt, Joyce Scharf and Friends of VallejoCPR
Page Last Updated Jan 30, 2003