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.
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.