SAN DIEGO, March 13, 2006 - Sempra LNG, a unit of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), today announced the start of a non-binding open season to solicit shipper interest for a proposed expansion of the Energía Costa Azul liquefied natural gas (LNG) receipt terminal's storage and send-out capacity, to 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (Bcfd) from 1 Bcfd.
Applications for expansion-related permits have been filed with Mexico's national energy regulatory agency, the Comisión Reguladora de Energía (CRE), and Mexico's environmental protection agency (SEMARNAT).
The open season is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Monday, April 17, 2006, and continue until 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, May 12, 2006. It will be conducted in accordance with the Mexican laws and regulations governing open-access terminals.
"The proposed expansion and open-season process represent a response to the significant interest we have received from a number of potential natural gas producers and marketers for more capacity at the Energía Costa Azul receipt terminal," said Darcel Hulse, president of Sempra LNG. "Our project will be the first of its kind along the West Coast of North America. Because of the strategic location and the interest expressed by potential clients, we expect this open season to proceed very well."
The initial construction phase of the $800 million receipt terminal project is underway 14 miles north of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. That phase is approaching 30-percent completion and will be operational in 2008. Pending market interest and regulatory approvals, the expansion could become operational in 2010.
The specific size, scope and cost of the expansion would depend upon the response received as a result of the open season. Any party interested in obtaining capacity at Energía Costa Azul is encouraged to contact Sue Bradham, director of commercial development, (619) 696-3131, or Jim Sahagian, vice president of commercial development, (619) 696-2357.
LNG is natural gas that has been cooled below minus-260 degrees Fahrenheit and condensed into a liquid. LNG occupies 600 times less volume than in its gaseous state, which allows it to be shipped in cryogenic tankers from remote locations to markets where it is needed. At the receiving terminal, LNG is unloaded and stored until it is vaporized back into natural gas and moved via pipelines to customers.
Sempra LNG oversees LNG project development. Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2005 revenues of $11.7 billion. The Sempra Energy companies' 14,000 employees serve more than 29 million consumers in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America and Asia.
This press release contains statements that are not historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When the company uses words like "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "estimates," "may," "would," "should" or similar expressions, or when the company discusses its strategy or plans, the company is making forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon various assumptions involving judgments with respect to the future and other risks, including, among others: local, regional, national and international economic, competitive, political, legislative and regulatory conditions and developments; actions by the California Public Utilities Commission, the California State Legislature, the California Department of Water Resources, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other regulatory bodies in the United States and other countries; capital markets conditions, inflation rates, interest rates and exchange rates; energy and trading markets, including the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices; the availability of natural gas; weather conditions and conservation efforts; war and terrorist attacks; business, regulatory, environmental, and legal decisions and requirements; the status of deregulation of retail natural gas and electricity delivery; the timing and success of business development efforts; the resolution of litigation; and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond the control of the company. These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that are available through the EDGAR system without charge at its Web site, www.sec.gov and on the company's Web site, .
Sempra LNG is not the same company as the utilities, SDG&E or SoCalGas, and Sempra LNG is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.
Financial Contact: Karen Sedgwick