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Oregon Energy Exporter Announces A Japanese Buyer For Its Liquefied Natural Gas

<p>Some Southern Oregon residents are fighting the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal&nbsp; proposed in Coos Bay.</p>
Jes Burns/OPB

Some Southern Oregon residents are fighting the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal  proposed in Coos Bay.

The company behind a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on Oregon’s southern coast has been busy lining up customers in Asia.

On Friday, the Canadian firm Veresen announced a preliminary purchase agreement with the Japanese trading company ITOCHU. Two weeks earlier, Veresen said it had a similar agreement in place with another Japanese firm, JERA.

Both deals are for 1.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year for 20 years. If finalized, they vouch for half the expected production capacity of the proposed LNG terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon.

In a statement, Veresen CEO Don Althoff said, "This agreement signals strong market support for the Jordan Cove LNG project from the world's largest LNG buyer and represents a significant step forward in the project's development."

The announcements come despite federal energy regulators’ denial of permits for the Jordan Cove project on March 11. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied the project, in part, because of uncertainty there would be buyers for the exported gas in a time of high worldwide supply.

The recent flurry of action comes ahead of a Monday, April 11 deadline for the company to appeal the federal decision denying the project, which also includes construction of a 200-mile pipeline connecting the terminal with gas supplies in the inland West.

Project backers have also continued working to acquire pipeline right-of-ways on private property in four Oregon counties.

Opponents of the project, including many of those landowners, cried foul and organized protests earlier this week when pipeline company Williams canceled scheduled meetings with landowners.

Opponents also organized a call-in campaign to urge the Oregon Department of State Lands to deny another project permit. That decision is expected in early May.

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Jes Burns is a reporter for OPB's Science & Environment unit. Jes has a degree in English literature from Duke University and a master's degree from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communications.