Plans for a massive liquefied natural gas facility and export terminal in Chester along the Delaware River have quietly been shopped around to current and former elected officials and their representatives from Chester City Hall to the governor’s office in Harrisburg. WHYY News obtained details of the plan, as well as the company’s lobbying efforts through Right-to-Know requests.
Penn America Energy LLC, the New York-based company behind the estimated $4 to $8 billion project, wants to build a liquefaction facility on 100 acres along the Chester waterfront with the goal of exporting 7 million metric tonnes of LNG each year down the Delaware River to countries in South America, Europe, and Asia, according to the documents obtained by WHYY News. For comparison, six current LNG export terminals in the U.S. shipped 7.6 million metric tonnes of LNG overseas in March, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Chester is about eight and and a half miles northeast of the Delaware border.
The Biden administration has pushed to increase LNG exports overseas in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, speeding up new permit reviews. An LNG export terminal on the East Coast could be a bonanza if the current market conditions remain. And while natural gas prices have risen recently, the sheer abundance of Marcellus and Utica shale gas, and the lack of pipeline capacity to move it, have producers looking to export. But, experts say there’s no guarantee Europe will continue to need American natural gas.
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