By Shari Phiel, July 8, 2014, Longview Daily News
Contract negotiations have hit a snag between the Port of Longview and a Texas firm that wants to export liquid propane and liquid butane, possibly putting the $275 million project and its 110 to 125 jobs at risk.
In a unusually candid discussion with the port commissioners on Tuesday, Port CEO Geir-Eilif Kalhagen said he was “a little bit disappointed” with how the negotiations with Haven Energy have progressed so far.
“We’re probably farther apart now than we’ve ever been in the process,” Kalhagen said. “We thought we were very fair with our recommendations and our financial terms for protecting the best interests of the port.”
Lease negotiations began nearly two months ago, but Haven’s response to the port’s offer didn’t come until just a few days ago, Kalhagen said.
“I think there’s a lack of understanding of the environmental concerns the State of Washington and the Port of Longview have, as far as looking at these kinds of projects. There’s also the realization that this is not Texas. The pricing structure available in Texas is not available in the state of Washington,” Kalhagen said.
He was not more specific.
When it announced the project in April, Houston-based Haven Energy officials said they hoped to have the terminal operating late in 2016. Haven would store liquid fuels shipped in pressurized tank cars — about two 100-car-long trains every three days — in concrete storage tanks to be built at the port. From there, the fuel would be shipped to Hawaii, Mexico, the U.S. Pacific Coast, Asia and, to a lesser extent, South America.
“We’re not doing this to put forth a project; we’re doing this if it makes sense to the port and the community. Right now, it would be difficult for me to say we’re in a position to do that,” Kalhagen said.
Haven Energy officials — who were not at the port meeting but who were in town describing their project to the Lions Club — were surprised by Kalhagen’s remarks.
“This is the first turn of a lease. We feel pretty much like things are on track,” said Haven spokesman Bruce Gryniewski.
Gryniewski said Haven President Greg Bowles “ is committed to doing what he needs to do to work this out. I don’t think there’s anything to derail the project,” Gryniewski said.