LNG and Coconut Oil on the Docks
What do you get when you mix coconut oil and liquefied natural
gas? A minus-260-degrees-Fahrenheit Pina Colada.
Southern LNG might have made 18,000 metric tons of the stuff
last Wednesday night had its Elba Island terminal been operating
when a 580-foot coconut oil tanker crashed into its docking
facilities. Oh, what a party it could have been.
Fortunately for Southern and the local community in Savannah,
GA, the side of the ship that hit the dock was empty and it will be
another year before ships carrying huge loads of LNG will be
filling the facility's tanks again.
However, the accident did cause significant damage to the
terminal and could delay recommissioning of import operations. As
of last week, no delay was expected, a spokesman said, but the
damage still is being evaluated.
Southern informed FERC of the accident by telephone the night it
happened and filed an initial report that week. It filed
supplemental information last Wednesday detailing the incident.
"Further investigation suggests that the vessel grounded in the
bow area after initially [colliding] with Southern LNG's marine
facilities. The starboard bow anchor subsequently hooked the dock's
superstructure. These impacts caused extensive damage to the marine
facilities," Southern told FERC. "After striking the fore dolphins,
the bow of the vessel cut several outboard concrete columns
supporting the second and third level concrete slabs of the
unloading platform. The bow then pushed the second level slab,
which collapsed to the main level, leaving the upper levels resting
with an outboard lean over the river."
Southern said it has to demolish and salvage the platform deck
before sending divers down to examine the substructure of the
terminal. It has plans to remove the damaged elements and begin
conducting repair work, but it probably will take more than a month
to finish the clean up job and much longer to get the
recommissioning back on track.
Mothballed since 1980, the facility received FERC authorization
in March to begin a $26 million recommissioning. The facility is
expected to begin importing 330 MMcf/d of LNG from Trinidad
starting in January 2002. It will have 4 Bcf of storage capacity
and a delivery rate of 540 MMcf/d.
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