Friday, September 16, 2005

Would a Big Hurricane Blow an LNG Terminal Out of the Water?

What would happen to a liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound if a big hurricane hit Long Island and southern New England, as it did in 1938? That possibility hadn't occurred to me until this morning, when a New London Day columnist named Bethe Dufresne raised it in the context of Broadwater's proposal to put an industrial-sized LNG terminal in the Sound.

She refers to a terminal in Louisiana:

The Web site for Trunkline LNG Terminal in Lake Charles (La.) noted that the facility is built to withstand winds up to 150 mph.

Perhaps I'm just being picky, but on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, a category 4, like Katrina, has “dangerous, sustained” winds of 131 mph to 155 mph. That's a five-mile doorway to doomsday, not to mention a “cat 5.”

Read it here. The column bounces around a bit and despite its early promise, doesn't really focus on the hurricane issue (she never says, for example, how the Trunkline terminal fared in Katrina, or whether worst-case storms will be considered in Broadwater's safety review), but she raises the question, and it's one worth looking into.


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