by Floyd McKay Crosscut Daily News
The Big Energy Export Train aimed at Pacific Northwest deep-water harbors is looking to add a new cargo: liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as propane and butane.
The new export LPG cargo would be added to a menu that includes coal from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana; crude oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota; and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from . . . well, you get the idea.
Petrogas, a Calgary-based energy company,plans to upgrade a small export terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County, near a proposed coal-export terminal and two oil refineries. The facility has had several owners since 1976 and has exported a small amount of LPG to Ecuador and Asia.
A Texas energy company, Sage Midstream, has announced plans for a new LPG export terminal at Longview; the site is near a proposed coal-export terminal, Millennium Bulk Products.
At least two proposals for liquefied natural gas terminals are on the table in Oregon: a longstanding one at Astoria near the mouth of the Columbia and a newer one at Coos Bay on the southern Oregon Coast. The Coos Bay project would include a 232-mile-long pipeline from south-central Oregon.
A little technical explanation: Natural gas is drilled from deep underground rock formations and liquefied natural gas is natural gas that has been converted to liquefied form for ease of transportation or storage; liquefied petroleum gas is largely captured from the waste of petroleum refineries (flaring). Natural gas is composed of methane and ethane, LPG from propane and butane. Both are explosive if exposed to fire or ignition.
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