Crystal Seeks Approval for Natural Gas Project on West Coast

Crystal Energy, LLC has filed a project application for its Crystal Clearwater Port project with the U.S. Coast Guard and the California State Lands Commission. The two agencies are, respectively, the primary federal and state authorities responsible for environmental review of the project. If approved, the project will be a significant source of natural gas for the region and all of California.

California currently imports about 90 percent of the natural gas it consumes, and demand projections call for a 20 percent increase over the next 10 years.

The U.S. Department of Energy and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan have recently stressed the need for such facilities in order to avoid a looming national shortage of natural gas that could push future natural gas prices to new historic levels. In addition, the California Energy Commission has recently called for the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and infrastructure on the West Coast in order to meet the state's growing demand for gas.

"We have worked for nearly three years to create a project that has the least environmental impact while providing a needed and stable supply of natural gas to the region," said William O. Perkins III, Crystal Energy, LLC president. "We know that our project will meet the highest standards for safety and reliability, and that the clean-burning, low-cost natural gas we supply will contribute significantly to a cleaner California environment and stable economy. We look forward to a rigorous environmental review of our application by federal, state, and local agencies and believe our proposal will be validated."

The Crystal Clearwater Port project, located 11 miles offshore Ventura County, Calif., calls for utilizing existing "Platform Grace" to import natural gas in a liquid form (LNG). The cooled natural gas will be transported by ship to the platform, where it will be converted back into vapor form. Using the existing offshore platform will protect precious coastal land while avoiding impacts to marine mammal migratory routes, the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary, and local military operations.

The natural gas will be delivered from the platform to shore in a new state-of-the-art pipeline using an existing pipeline corridor. It will then come onshore at an existing industrial facility before tying into an existing Southern California Gas Company pipeline. The natural gas will provide Ventura County and California with a clean, secure, and abundant source of energy that will help meet the state's energy needs well into the future.

The Crystal Clearwater Project terminal capacity will be 1 billion cubic feet per day (1 bcfd), giving the project the ability to meet more than 25 percent of the state's projected residential demand.

While California as a whole will benefit from the new stable, low-cost supply of natural gas the project can bring, Crystal Energy is also committed to providing additional benefits to the City of Oxnard and County of Ventura, the communities who will host Crystal Clearwater Port. If the project goes forward, Crystal Energy will assist local businesses and agencies in purchasing natural gas at a reduced cost, provide a fuel cell for City and County use, supply up to 40 million gallons of clean water annually that are a byproduct of the regasification process, and establish a significant scholarship fund for local students.

With the project application submitted, agencies now have 30 days to review the application and determine if it is adequate. Typically, agencies ask for additional information prior to deeming an application complete. Once the application is complete, the process of preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will begin.

Construction costs for the Crystal Clearwater Port project, which is anticipated to begin operation in 2007, are estimated at $300 million.