Hess will try to build South Jersey gas terminal: Update

Hess LNG says it's planning a scaled-back verison of the liquified natural gas terminal that BP tried and failed to build at Crown Landing in Logan Township, Gloucester County, creating hundreds of temporary construction jobs but scaring environmentalists in Delaware, which controls access to the site.

"It's a very long-term" plan, said Gordon Shearer, president of Hess LNG, owned by New York-based gasoline distributor Hess Corp. and fuel broker Poten & Partners. "We'll be two to three years in permitting and reassessments, three to four years in construction, and run it for 30 years."

The plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a breakwater, pier, tanks, pumps and pipelines has support from New Jersey politicians eager for what Shearer said were "several hundred construction jobs over three years," and about 30 fulltime and 30 contract jobs longterm. But it's been opposed by state officials and environmentalists in Delaware, where state law limits development in its coastal waters, which extend to the New Jersey shore.

Shearer told me Hess may "scale back" BP's initial plan, which called for up to three ships unloading chilled condensed gas every week.

UPDATE: My colleague Andy Maykuth, who covers energy, notes that Hess Corp. is among the companies developing natural gas in upstate Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. I called back Hess's Shearer and asked him, Would you want Crown Landing as an export terminal?

Not likely, said Shearer: Marcellus gas is expensive to extract, would be more expensive to liquify, and therefore likely makes sense only for local (U.S.) consumption. "We'll still need both" imports and local gas "if the U.S. is to replace coal" with cleaner-burning natural gas, he told me.