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Excelerate Readies Offshore LNG Plan for Massachusetts, Working on California

Excelerate Energy LLC, which ramped up operations at its Gulf Gateway liquefied natural gas (LNG) Energy Bridge Deepwater Port offshore Louisiana one month ago, will file an application to build its second facility offshore Massachusetts within the next two weeks, and has begun laying plans for another one offshore California, the president said Thursday.

Speaking at Platts 4th Annual LNG Conference in Houston, Kathleen Eisbrenner said Excelerate has seized on the many LNG opportunities around the country. For the past 10 months, the company has been finalizing plans for its Northeast Gateway LNG terminal, which would be located 10 miles offshore Gloucester, MA and 50 miles northeast of the existing Everett, MA, LNG terminal operated by Distrigas. The proposed Excelerate terminal was first announced last year (see NGI, June 14, 2004).

Excelerate's application to build the terminal offshore Massachusetts will compete with another application already on file. Tractebel LNG, which also owns the Distrigas terminal, filed an application to license its offshore Neptune Project in mid-February (see NGI, Feb. 21). The Tractebel application is currently under a "completeness" review, according to the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration.

However, Eisbrenner said she feels confident that the Northeast Excelerate project has a better chance to win approval.

"We plan to be in service in the Northeast in 2007," she said. "It happens to look like our Gateway will be first. Tractebel is expected to be in operation by 2010, and ours will be ready by 2007. Our filing, I hope, will be deemed complete after we have filed, and all indicators look good so far." All of the regulatory officials understand the Excelerate technology, she said, which gives the company an edge for offshore siting.

However, Eisbrenner hedged her answer on whether both offshore Massachusetts projects could win approval. "Massachusetts might need added gas supplies," she said. "We envision it could be growing...and we see that in our offshore Gateway systems."

Along with preparing an application for the Northeast Gateway, Eisbrenner said Excelerate has plans on the drawing board for a similar terminal offshore California and two undisclosed international facilities. She said the California plans were in the early preliminary stages, but she thought the Excelerate system might be the answer to siting difficulties along the West Coast.

"Clearly, in our opinion, both offshore and onshore LNG is required to serve the burgeoning gas demand in the United States. We are working on adding solutions," she said.

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