Calais LNG again seeks delay to find funding

Posted Sept. 14, 2010, at 2:53 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — Opponents and supporters of Calais LNG’s efforts to develop a liquefied natural gas facility worth up to $1 billion here will square off before state regulators in Augusta Wednesday.

A conference scheduled among the principles of Calais LNG, opponents and the state Board of Environmental Protection will be held as scheduled, despite Calais LNG’s last minute request to postpone the process while it seeks financial backing.

Cindy Bertocci, legal analyst to the BEP, said Tuesday that Chairman Susan Lessard received two requests from Calais LNG on Monday. One asked that today’s meeting be postponed and the other was a request for an additional 30-day delay in the company’s LNG site permit application deadline.

It was the company’s fourth request for a delay, with the previous three having been granted by state regulators.

Bertocci said that no decision has been made about extending the application deadline and that Wednesday’s conference “will be a conversation between all parties about that extension.”

On Monday, Calais LNG provided a status report to the BEP that said the company was still seeking investors.

In August, Calais LNG’s lead financial partner and managing member, GS Power Holdings LLC, indicated it needed an additional 30 days to negotiate with new potential financial partners for the project and state regulators granted that time extension.

“There have been serious discussions during those intervening 30 days and, as one might imagine concerning an energy project anticipated to cost between $900 million and $1 billion, such discussions are time consuming and complex,” Calais LNG attorney David B. VanSlyke wrote to the BEP.

“Due to the complex nature of these negotiations, it is not now possible to predict precisely when the discussions might be concluded such that a new financial partner can be identified,” he added, while requesting an additional 30 days to complete the investor negotiations.

A number of entities, including the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission and the Conservation Law Foundation, have filed formal objections to any application extension, noting that it was Calais LNG that asked for an expedited process. They are asking the BEP to force Calais LNG to adhere to the deadlines set and to withdraw its application until funding issues are settled.

sunrisecounty@bangordailynews.com

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