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LNG VP plans to do more community outreach

By AMANDA SCOTT

Staff writer

There is new leadership at the Dominion Cove Point plant in Lusby, where a $3.8 billion exportation project is proposed for construction this year.

Michael Frederick returned to the Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas facility as the plant’s vice president of liquefied natural gas operations Jan. 1.

Frederick joined Dominion in 1982 and held various positions in engineering and operations in gas transmission. When Dominion purchased the Cove Point facility in 2002, he led the transition team and was later named the director of LNG operations. Then, in September 2011, he joined Dominion Virginia Power leadership in Richmond as director of Electric Distribution Planning, Reliability and GIS Systems.

Upon arriving at the facility amid the controversial exportation project, Frederick said Friday during a tour of the existing facility, “One observation that I made pretty quickly, No. 1, is everybody is entitled to their own opinion … if they’re basing it on facts.”

When it comes to the proposed project, he said, there has been “a lot of information, some of it not very accurate, that’s out there.”

To remedy that, he said Dominion has plans to “do more outreach” and is scheduled to speak at about 15 upcoming community meetings.

The project — still awaiting approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — has been described as one of the largest construction projects in Maryland. Frederick said that is a misnomer because of the $3.8 billion price tag, which mainly accounts for equipment and jobs.

The number and type of jobs the exportation project is expected to bring has been one of the most contentious points for those who have expressed opposition to the project, claiming the jobs are temporary and will put strain on the county’s infrastructure.

The plant currently has about 100 employees, Frederick said, and will be increased by about 75 more employees with the exportation. Some existing employees are receiving training on liquefaction already, he said, adding that the company is looking for specialized liquefaction engineers.

While leading a tour of the facility, Frederick pointed out an existing small liquefier. He said the liquefier is from a previous contract and was used to supply energy to the grid during peak usage times. Compared to the 770 million cubic units Dominion plans to liquefy, the existing liquefier can only liquefy about 14 million cubic units, Frederick said.

“There’s nobody more interested in protecting us than us,” Frederick said in response to the concerns residents and community groups have raised about the safety of the exportation project. “... When Dominion is in a community, we’re in a community. We do more than just operate here.”

ascott@somdnews.com