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Liberty Files Revamped Plans for New Jersey LNG Terminal

Liberty Natural Gas LLC, which last year withdrew applications to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal off the coast of New Jersey, has filed a revamped application with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard. The new application is for a different location and would allow many more LNG carrier deliveries once the facility is completed.

The Port Ambrose LNG facility would be located east of Liberty's previously planned project, and the Jersey City, NJ-based company is proposing approximately 45 LNG carrier deliveries per year, compared with 10-12 deliveries in its previous application.

The application describes an offshore natural gas deepwater port facility in federal waters in the New York Bight, approximately 17 miles southeast of Jones Beach, NY, 24 miles east of Long Branch, NJ, and about 27 miles from the entrance to New York Harbor, in about 103 feet of water. If approved, Liberty plans to do most of the construction in 2015, with commissioning by the end of that year.

Liberty's plans call for two submerged turret loading (STL) buoys. LNG would be delivered from purpose-built LNG regasification vessels (LNGRV), vaporized on site and delivered through the STL buoys, flexible riser/umbilical, subsea manifold and lateral pipelines to a buried 19 mile subsea mainline connecting to the Transco Lower New York Bay Lateral in New York State waters about two miles south of Long Beach, NY, and 13 miles east of New Jersey. The buoys would be lowered to rest on a landing pad when not in use.

Each of the 145,000 cubic meter LNGRVs would have three onboard vaporization units capable of maximum send-out of 750 MMcf/d, with annual average expected to be 400 MMcf/d. The vessels are designed to utilize a ballast water cooling system during port operations, which would eliminate vessel discharges associated with regasification while at the port, according to the application.

MARAD is accepting public comment on the Liberty's application through July 23.

Some environmental groups have already voiced their criticism of the new application. In addition to the potential for environmental damage, they say they are concerned that the import facility could become an export facility in the future.

"Port Ambrose, an imports/exports facility, will violate our land and sea for today and future generations," said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, which staged a "citizens hearing" at a public beach in Sea Bright, NJ, Thursday, to protest Liberty's application. "The facts reveal that there is not one redeeming benefit to we the people, it puts our region and ocean in harm's way, and will increase energy costs to citizens and businesses."

Liberty withdrew its previous application more than a year ago, saying it was done to avoid any regulatory confusion over a "substantially revised" project (see NGI, April 30, 2012; Nov. 8, 2010). An attorney representing the company told MARAD and the Coast Guard that Liberty was completely redesigning the project, including "scaling down its size from four buoys to two, eliminating the onshore pipeline, changing the project location and configuration to site the project exclusively offshore, and redesigning its construction program and techniques to substantially reduce seabed impacts." The first application called for a deepwater port 16.2 miles from the coast and interconnections with the Texas Eastern Transmission LP and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie blocked licensing Liberty's proposal in February 2011 on the grounds that the project posed too great a risk to the state's 126-mile shoreline, as well as its tourism, fishing and shellfish industries (see NGI, Feb. 14, 2011).

Former proposals to build LNG import terminals off the coast of New Jersey include separate plans by ExxonMobil Corp. and Atlantic Sea Island Group LLC (see NGI, Nov. 22, 2010; Aug. 2, 2010).

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