Mexican court revokes order to suspend Sempra LNG terminal permits

Source: Sempra LNG

A Mexican federal appeals court has revoked a court order that directed Mexican regulatory agencies to suspend authorizations for the operations of Sempra LNG’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, Energia Costa Azul LNG terminal, near Ensenada, Mexico.

Although the full ruling is not yet available, the result of the appellate hearing has been posted to the appeals court website. Additionally, the district court has acknowledged receipt of notice from the appeals court that the June 17 suspension order has been voided.

The June 17 order had been issued without a hearing at the request of Ramon Eugenio Sanchez Ritchie in connection with his claims of ownership of land adjacent to the LNG terminal.

Sempra LNG officials stated that the LNG terminal continues to operate in compliance with all permits and the land adjacent to the terminal that is claimed by Sanchez Ritchie is not required for the terminal’s operations. They noted that the permit for the project issued in April 2003 by SEMARNAT, the Mexican environmental protection agency, included a requirement for Sempra LNG to acquire unspecified additional property adjacent to the terminal as a “buffer zone.” However, the layout of the terminal subsequently was modified in a manner demonstrated by independent studies to eliminate the need for any additional property, including the property in dispute. Accordingly, in June 2005, SEMARNAT eliminated the requirement for additional land.

A hearing by the district court judge on the terminal’s operating permits is now scheduled for July 6. Sempra LNG will continue to vigorously defend its investment and protect its right to operate this important facility for the energy security of Mexico, company officials said. 

Energia Costa Azul LNG Terminal

Sempra LNG, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has been operating its Energia Costa Azul LNG terminal north of Ensenada, Mexico since May 2008. The terminal was officially inaugurated by President Felipe Calderón on August 28, 2008. 

Starting in 2003, Sempra LNG began obtaining permits from a number of government agencies to construct and operate this LNG terminal. As a condition of the permits, Sempra LNG arranged for independent experts (including licensed and qualified Mexican experts and universities) to conduct numerous technical, engineering, environmental, safety and other studies. The LNG terminal and related facilities were fully permitted to the high standards established by the Mexican authorities and the project was constructed using qualified international and Mexican contractors.

Sempra LNG develops and operates LNG receipt terminals serving North American markets. Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.

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