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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 07:15 GMT
US assurances over LNG plant plan
By Hugh Turnbull

Aerial view of Milford Haven
LNG tankers will arrive in Milford Haven from next year
The mayor of the city with America's longest-running liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal has said Milford Haven has nothing to fear about the industry.

John Hanlon, mayor of Everett, near Boston, Massachusetts, lives 600 yards from the Distrigas terminal, which has operated since 1971.

He said the site is worth millions of dollars to Everett in jobs and taxes.

An LNG terminal is to open in Milford Haven next year, but critics say the plant is a safety hazard for the town.

Mr Hanlon, who lives across the Mystic River from the Distrigas terminal, said the site is more of a nuisance neighbour.

John Hanlon, mayor of city of Everett, Massachusetts
Mr Hanlon said the LNG plant had brought his city jobs

Ships loaded with LNG are escorted by a flotilla of armed coastguard and police vessels in a disruptive and expensive operation that has to be repeated every six days.

But he does not share the safety concerns voiced by some in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, about the potential risks associated with LNG tankers manoeuvring near a population and even being a possible target for terrorists.

He said: "They're good neighbours. From our experience here in Everett, Milford Haven has no need to worry.

"The economy of the area certainly is increased with their taxes but it's by the people that they hire. They have an awful lot of our own city people working there, the city of Everett. They have one of the best safety records around."

'Track record'

The terminal's manager Frank Kastulak said Pembrokeshire's two terminals will benefit from the industry's long experience.

He said: "We've been in operation for 35 years - we've never had a serious incident.

"There's never been an incident at an LNG re-gas terminal that's sustained damage outside the facility, worldwide.

An LNG carrier at the Distrigas terminal in Everett, near Boston, Massachusetts
Everett, near Boston, has had an LNG plant for more than 30 years

"That track record mirrors the experience of the LNG industry worldwide. So I would expect that you would have the same performance in Milford Haven."

Two terminals are being built at Wales' biggest port to receive LNG, which is gas cooled to liquid form to make it easier to transport.

Safe Haven, a group with safety concerns about the LNG development in west Wales, points to claims by James Fay, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that an LNG spill could endanger 20,000 lives.

Professor Fay said: "I think they should be as concerned as the people in Boston are about the tankers coming by downtown Boston.

Terrorist strike

"Now, maybe they [the tankers] are not that close to land in Milford Haven but they're close enough.

"I think there is a risk and they have every right to question public authorities about whether this is the right long-term plan for Milford Haven for the next 50 years."

Mr Kastulak said the built-in strength of LNG carriers would make any vessel a difficult target for a possible terrorist strike.

He said: "All LNG carriers are double-hulled ships. But more than having a double hull, they have, typically, two separate containment systems which contains the LNG."

LNG tankers arrive in Everett every six days

Mayor James Hanlon lives 600 yards from the site

Protesters fail to halt gas plant
12 Oct 04 |  South West Wales
Gas depot given go-ahead
10 Mar 04 |  South West Wales


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