Gulf Oil plans LNG facility in Great Bend

BY BRENDAN GIBBONS
Times-Shamrock Writer

An oil company with Pennsylvania roots plans to have a liquefied natural gas facility up and running in Susquehanna County by the end of 2015.

The Great Bend facility would accept natural gas from Williams’ Windsor-Montrose-Washington gathering line and compress it for storage and delivery as a liquid, according to a petition the company, Gulf Oil LP, filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in April.

The facility would produce 100,000 to 300,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas per day, the petition states, using electric compressors. Its target markets are operators of drilling rigs and hydraulic fracturing unit fleets who want to run their equipment on natural gas instead of diesel fuel.

The gas would also go to storage facilities operated by utility companies. These plants, known as “peak-shaving plants,” store excess gas until periods of high demand, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

On Thursday, FERC issued an order stating the project does not fall into its jurisdiction because the project would not involve shipping gas through an interstate pipeline.

FERC issued an environmental assessment on July 3, stating “no environmental impact” would be tied to its decision of whether it could legally regulate the facility. The facility is subject to review and permitting by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the state Public Utility Commission and “other Pennsylvania and federal agencies,” the assessment states.

“The FERC decision was only one of the many steps in the long path before the project will become a reality,” Gulf Oil spokesman Derek Beckwith said. “Our next steps over the weeks and months ahead include, first and foremost, communicating and working closely with state and community officials to discuss our ideas. After that, we will be able to share specifics.”

Beckwith would not answer any questions about the facility.

Susquehanna County Director of Planning Robert Templeton said he had met with company representatives who requested information about county ordinances and regulations. But, Templeton said, no plans for the facility have been submitted to the planning commission.

Gulf Oil, founded in the early 1900s during the Texas Oil Boom with financial backing from by Pittsburgh banker William Larimer Mellon, joined with Chevron in 1984, in what was then the biggest corporate merger in U.S. history, according to The New York Times.

Its current incarnation is a joint venture between Massachusetts gas station and convenience store chain Cumberland Farms and Catamount Petroleum LP, according to a company history on Gulf Oil’s website. The partnership is based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

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