Rio Grande LNG is a Liquefied Natural Gas export project to be constructed on an approximately 1,000 acre site on the northern shore of the Brownsville Shipping Channel roughly half way between Port Isabel and the Port of Brownsville. Rio Grande LNG is currently in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) pre-filing review process. For more information, please visit the project overview page, here
Rio Grande LNG is proposed on a 1,000 acre site on the northern shore of the Brownsville Shipping Channel, approximately half-way between Port Isabel and the Port of Brownsville. Please see the map below for the exact location.


Rio Grande LNG requested to enter the FERC pre-filing process on March 20, 2015. The FERC accepted the request on March 23, 2015 and initiated the pre-filing process on April 13, 2015.

The anticipated approximate timeline for major milestones includes:

(1) Open Houses, where interested community members will have an opportunity to learn more about the Projects: These will be held on May 19th in Kingsville, May 20th in Raymondville, and May 21st in Brownsville, Texas. More detailed information about the Open Houses, including exact times and locations, can be found here;

(2) Formal application made to the FERC for approval of the Projects: May 2016;

(3) Issuance of the FERC Order approving the Projects: By end of Q4 2017;

(4) Commencement of the Projects’ construction: Mid-2018; and

(5) Projects initially enter into service: Q1 2022.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also know as the FERC, is the federal agency in charge of all oversight and permitting activities related to LNG export facilities. For more information on the FERC process, click on the tab “FERC Process” above or “Regulatory Process” on the menu.
Rio Grande LNG, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextDecade, LLC, an LNG development company based in The Woodlands, Texas.
RGLNG is currently in negotiations with a number of different third parties from around the world for long-term offtake contracts. Many countries around the world import LNG, and have been for decades. South Korea and Japan have historically imported large quantities of LNG; however, many other nations throughout Europe, Africa, The Middle East and South America are also important importers and represent potential markets for the LNG created by RGLNG. China is increasingly becoming a major importer of LNG also.
RGLNG will store its LNG in full-containment LNG storage tanks. The LNG is not stored under pressure and is protected and insulated behind multiple layers. See below for a cross-section of a full-containment LNG storage tank.

LNG Storage Tank

LNG is transported overseas in LNG carriers. These vessels are some of the most advanced marine vessels in the world, typically costing between US$200-300 million a piece. Just as with the storage tanks on land, LNG in LNG carriers is not stored under pressure, but rather is heavily insulated to maintain its super-cool -260ºF temperature. A by-product of the need to insulate the LNG so completely makes LNG carriers safer. LNG carriers typically have multiple storage tanks, each insulated with multiple layers as well the entire vessel having a multi-hull design. Furthermore, each of these specifically designed vessels contain highly-advanced containment and monitoring systems to ensure that the LNG is transported safely and securely. In the 50 years and over 150 million miles travelled, there have been no significant incidents related to LNG carriers. In addition, LNG crews and operators must meet rigorous training and safety requirements. Lastly, there have been over 135,000 loaded voyages by LNG carriers without loss of cargo through either accident or equipment failure.

Rio Bravo Pipeline is a new natural gas pipeline proposed between the Agua Dulce market hub and the Rio Grande LNG site, spanning approximately 140 miles. The pipeline will be a Section VII public pipeline and will consist of 2 parallel 42″ underground natural gas pipelines.
The pipeline will run from just West of Kingsville in Jim Wells County, south to the Brownsville Shipping Channel and end at the Rio Grande LNG terminal. A map of the current route can be seen below. Rio Bravo Pipeline Company is making every effort to minimize its impact by co-locating along existing utility corridors as much as possible.

A new pipeline is necessary to supply our proposed Rio Grande LNG facility with the requisite quantities of natural gas.
The Rio Bravo Pipeline extends to the Agua Dulce market hub because it is a highly liquid market with multiple inter- and intra-state pipelines converging at this point. From here, we will have access to large supplies of gas coming from Texas and across the country.
The Rio Bravo Pipeline is being permitted in conjunction with RGLNG. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will oversee the entire process. Rio Bravo requires a number of federal and state permits before construction can begin. Both the Terminal and the Pipeline will be constructed, operated and maintained in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local environmental and safety requirements, including meeting and/or exceeding all PHMSA and FERC safety standards and specifications.
All affected landowners have a recognized right to participate as a full party in the FERC review process so long as they intervene in the FERC’s proceedings in a timely manner. Any interventions must be in writing and comply with the FERC’s requirements. Please visit www.FERC.gov to learn how to intervene and to arrange to receive notices of important developments in the FERC’s proceedings. If you do not wish to participate as a full party in the FERC’s proceedings for these Projects, you will also have the opportunity to file written comments or a protest (should you object to some aspect of the Projects), as well as to attend or speak at the FERC scoping meeting(s)/other public meetings, which will be publicly announced by the FERC from time to time. Also, the FERC has prepared an informative citizens guide entitled: An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land: What Do I Need to Know?   The FERC’s guide covers: how the FERC’s procedures work, your rights, how the location of the Pipeline is decided, and what safety and environmental issues might be involved. It can be downloaded at: http://www.ferc.gov/for-citizens/citizen-guides/citz-guide-gas.pdf.

If you would like to review our written request to the FERC to initiate its Filing Process or view application materials, you can: (1) download them from the FERC’s e-library at www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp, by searching for materials in Docket No. CP16-454 (Rio Grande) and CP16-455 (Rio Bravo); (2) request that we mail you a copy by calling James Markham-Hill, Manager of Communications, toll-free at (844) 807-4564 or sending an e-mail to info@riograndelng.com and providing your address; or (3) you may view copies at the following public libraries: 1) Brownsville Public Library – Main Branch at 2600 Central Blvd, Brownsville, TX 78520; 2) Reber Memorial Public Library at 193 N 4Th St., Raymondville, TX 78580; 3) Robert J. Kleberg Public Library at 220 North 4th Street, Kingsville, TX 78363-4410; 4) Alicia Salinas City of Alice Public Library at 401 E Third St., Alice, TX 78332; and 5) McAllen Public Library at 4001 N. 23rd St. McAllen, TX 78504.

LNG is short for Liquefied Natural Gas. This is simply natural gas (methane) in its liquid state. LNG is approximately -260ºF at atmospheric pressure. When handled correctly, LNG is very safe.

LNG Process Explained

LNG is made by super-cooling gaseous natural gas to -260ºF, at which point a state change occurs and it becomes a liquid, or Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Prior to super-cooling, the feed natural gas must be pre-treated to remove any impurities, such as water, CO2, and other hydrocarbons, so that the end product is as close to pure methane as possible. The pre-treatment process creates what is called “natural gas liquids,” such as ethylene. These valuable liquids are collected and sold to the manufacturing industry, among others, helping to fuel America’s manufacturing revival.

When handled correctly, LNG is very safe. In fact, the LNG industry has a very good record of safety. LNG is an odorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive liquid. It is not stored under high-pressure, is not flammable and is not explosive. For more information and to see the safety of LNG demonstrated first-hand, watch the videos below.

Demonstration on the safety of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) by expert Peter Micciche of ConocoPhillips Alaska for the Australia Pacific LNG Project in Queensland, Australia.

LNG as a liquid is non-flammable. Below is a summary of some of the key points regarding LNG and fire potential.
– LNG vapor, mainly methane (natural gas), burns only within the narrow range of a 5 to 15 percent gas-to-air mixture
– If the natural gas vapor concentration is lower than 5 percent, it cannot burn because of insufficient fuel
– If the natural gas vapor concentration is higher than 15 percent, it cannot burn because there is insufficient oxygen
– For LNG to burn, it must be released, vaporize, mix with air in the flammable ratio, and be exposed to an ignition source
– From an environmental standpoint there is very little smoke associated with an LNG fire
– LNG vapors do not catch fire as easily as those of other common fuels such as jet fuel or propane (LPG) – These fuels ignite at much lower concentrations in air and much lower auto-ignition temperatures
– In addition, LNG vapors dissipate more easily, meaning that potential hazards can persist longer for other fuels than for LNG.
No, it is a popular misconception that LNG is explosive. Explosion is a hazard unlikely to occur with LNG activity. LNG in liquid form itself will not explode within storage tanks, since it is stored approximately -256°F (-160°C) and at atmospheric pressure. Without pressure or confinement or heavily obstructed clouds of the vapors, there can be no explosion. An explosion from a release of LNG vapors is possible only if all the following conditions occur at the same time: vapors are in the flammability range, vapors are in a confined space and a source of ignition is present. The LNG industry has taken a number of safety and security measures to prevent any such event from occurring.
Liquid petroleum gas (LPG, and sometimes called propane) is often confused with LNG and vice versa. They are not the same and the differences are significant. LPG is composed primarily of propane (upwards to 95%) and smaller quantities of butane. LPG can be stored as a liquid in tanks by applying pressure alone. LPG is the “bottled gas” often found under BBQ grills. LPG has been used as fuel in light duty vehicles for many years.

It is important to understand the differences between Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Natural Gas Liquids (NGL), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), and Gas to Liquids (GTL)

LNG is made up of mostly methane – the liquefaction process requires the removal of the non-methane components like carbon dioxide, water, butane, pentane and heavier components from the produced natural gas

CNG is natural gas that is pressurized and stored in welding bottle-like tanks at pressures up to 3,600 psig

NGLs are made up mostly of molecules that are heavier than methane like ethane, propane, and butane

LPG is a mixture of propane and butane in a liquid state at room temperatures

GTL refers to the conversion of natural gas to products like methanol, diethyl ether (DME), middle distillates (diesel and jet fuel), specialty chemicals and waxes

– When LNG is vaporized and used as fuel, it reduces particle emissions to near zero and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 70 percent in comparison with other, heavier hydrocarbon fuels
– When burned for power generation, the results are even more dramatic – Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions are virtually eliminated and CO2 emissions are reduced significantly
– If spilled on water or land, LNG will not mix with the water or soil, but evaporates and dissipates into the air leaving no residual traces of LNG.
– It does not dissociate or react as do other hydrocarbon gases and is not considered an emission source
“FERC” is the common acronym for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The FERC is the main federal agency that is in charge of reviewing the Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline Projects. More information on the FERC can be found online at their website at www.ferc.gov
One common misunderstanding is the difference between Open Houses and Scoping Meetings. Open Houses are sponsored by the Company, and Scoping Meetings are sponsored by FERC. As part of the Company’s community outreach program in Commission’s pre-filing process, the Company will hold Open Houses in the vicinity of the proposed project area to share information about its project with the public.

The Commission frequently sends staff to attend open houses during pre-filing to answer questions, discuss the FERC’s pre-filing process, and invite stakeholders/public to participate in the environmental and certificate application proceedings. An important component of the NEPA review of projects involves public input early in the process.

The goal of the Commission’s pre-filing process is to notify all project stakeholders, including potentially affected property owners, so that Company and the Commission Staff can provide a forum to hear the issues relevant to those stakeholders. The Company may then incorporate proposed mitigation measures into the project design from comments received from stakeholders.

*Source: Adapted from http://ferc.gov/help/faqs/prefiling.asp

Scoping meetings, which are sponsored by FERC, are utilized by staff to identify relevant issues of major Certificate projects, pursuant to NEPA. Scoping is the process of defining and refining the scope of a environmental impact statement (EIS) or environmental assessment (EA) and the alternatives to be investigated. The scoping process is one of the opportunities for public involvement. Affected property owners and other stakeholders can provide detailed comments about issues pertaining to their properties. For example, stakeholders can provide information on sensitive environmental features in the project area; suggest alternatives to be evaluated; or help identify construction constraints.

FERC staff may hold public scoping meetings in the project area for major projects that typically require an EIS or EA. The scoping meetings are typically held during the Commission’s pre-filing process, but may be held after the application is officially filed with the Commission.

FERC scoping meetings are open to the general public and are structured for people to make statements to the FERC staff about the project. FERC staff describes the environmental review process with members of the public, provides relevant information, and answers procedural questions. The Company is present and typically gives a summary of its project and is available before and after the formal part of the meeting for questions and answers. One of the main purposes of a formal scoping meeting is so the members of the public get an opportunity to speak their concerns. Comments on the proposed project may be submitted in written form or made verbally during the course of the scoping meeting. The scoping meetings are recorded by a stenographer and will become part of the formal record of the Commission proceeding on the project. Scoping meeting transcripts are accessible and placed in the record through the Commission’s eLibrary system, in the docket number assigned to the proceeding.

Information gathered at scoping meetings during pre-filing help the Company prepare environmental mitigation measures to present in its environmental resource reports filed with the Commission in its Certificate Application. In return, this information provides FERC staff with the resources needed to publish a more complete environmental document for public review. Companies not involved in the pre-filing process are not afforded the benefit of resolving stakeholder concerns prior to filing their Certificate Applications.

*Source: http://ferc.gov/help/faqs/prefiling.asp

There are a number of ways that you can get involved with the FERC process. One of the easiest ways is by attending one of our upcoming Open Houses. Here you will get to meet with RGLNG representatives, ask questions and learn about the proposed projects. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about us, and for you to share your feedback with the projects. Additionally, you can participate in FERC operated scoping meetings. Finally, for additional information regarding the FERC process, you can explore the FERC website at www.ferc.gov
Spend some time exploring the information on this website. Additional information about the FERC can be found at their website, at www.ferc.gov. If you have other specific questions concerning Rio Grande LNG or the Rio Bravo Pipeline projects, please contact us.