Study of LNG export effects planned

An economic development group plans to research the potential benefits to the Western Colorado economy of increased liquefied natural gas exports.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership received a one-year, $15,000 grant from the Unconventional Energy Center at Colorado Mesa University to fund the effort.

John Harpole, president of Mercator Energy, will lead the project. His Littleton-based firm assists clients in selling and sourcing natural gas supplies as well as conducts research into industry trends in regional markets.

The GJEP research will focus on the economic effects in Western Colorado if additional liquefied natural gas terminals were constructed in the United States to increase exports. The information could be used to promote additional natural gas development in the region, including the gas-rich Piceance Basin.

“Consumers of natural gas, both in the U.S. and abroad, should think of the Piceance Basin as a large, robust natural gas manufacturing area,” said Kelly Flenniken, executive director of GJEP.

The results of the research will be reported in a paper scheduled for publication in the second quarter and will be shared with federal and state lawmakers and regulators. GJEP and Mercator also will offer assistance in drafting federal legislation related to liquid natural gas exports.