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Two Texas sites planned Here comes LNG By Peter Applebome Corpus Christi Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, an energy source that seems to offer both the best and worst of all possible worlds, apparently is on its way to Texas. A lot of people are less than thrilled by the prospect. After all, a product that once prompted opponents of its use to form a Citizens Committee Against a Fiery Death isn’t likely to be welcomed with il s houts of joy. LNG is a marvel of cryogenic \(ultraminus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, natural gas shrinks to one six-hundredth of its normal volume, and can be easily transported from third-world nations, where it happen, s to be abundant and not in demand, to the industrialized West. -Tankers 900 to 975 feet long with hold capacities for as much as 3.64 billion are under construction in several American and foreign shipyards. At present, only one LNG terminal is in operation in the United States, but 12 are planned. The Carter administration has proposed the lifting of import restrictions on LNG, a step that could result in .annual shipments of three trillion cubic feet of LNG to U.S. ports by 1990. The advantages of LNG are obvious. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available; the terminals that regasify the liquid are virtually pollution-free; and LNG importation appears to be profitable enougha number of firms are already scrambling for federal licenses. \(Compared to natural gas prices, transportation and regasification costs make LNG expensive. Japan, a big LNG importer, paid $3.50 per thousand cubic feet for port-delivered LNG in 1976; individual consumers, of course, paid more. In Texas, the city of Austin has recently been paying $2 per MCF for Unfortunately, there’s a serious catch. LNG is as hazardous as any cargo handled in American harbors. Spills could set off instant conflagrations or create vast flammable vapor clouds. The chances of an LNG tatastro.phe are small, but the potential severity of a mishap has been enough to spur a running controversy similar to that over nuclear power. Texas sites Two LNG terminal sites have been proposed for Texas. The El Paso LNG Co. plans a $300 million receiving terminal on a 2,100-acre Matagorda Bay site just north of Port O’Connor and south of the Powderhorn Ranch. Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, a subsidiary of the Chicago-based Peoples Gas Co., plans to build a $161 million LNG complex on Corpus Christi Bay near Ingleside, north of Corpus Christi. The Matagorda Bay project, scheduled for completion in 1982, will handle one billion cubic feet of Algerian gas daily. El Paso Natural Gas will pipe 65 percent of the fuel to California and other WeStern states, the rest to other interstate markets. The Ingleside facility, opening the same year, will process about 425,000 cubic feet of gas per day, or some 155 billion cubic feet annually. John Wucki, planning engineer for Peoples Gas, says the plant will ultimately move four times that amount through interstate pipelines, most of it to the Midwest. The Matagorda Bay plant, rising in a sparsely populated area, has met little opposition, though some Gulf Coast ecologists worry about its effects on what is now an entirely undeveloped area and prime recreation spot. The facility will occupy only 140 of the company’s 2,100 acres, and El Paso Natural Gas officials foresee spinoff industries locating on the rest of the site. The situation is not nearly so placid in