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Trunkline LNG Gets Nod to Place Expanded Vaporization Facilities in Operation Early

FERC last Tuesday gave Trunkline LNG Co. LLC the green light to place certain vaporization and associated facilities into service prior to the completion of the rest of the expansion of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Lake Charles, LA, as well as provide interim vaporization services on the facilities.

The order came one week after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved affiliate Trunkline Gas Co. LLC's request to begin service on a pipeline loop expansion and metering station to accommodate increased deliveries of LNG from Trunkline LNG's import terminal (see NGI, July 25) .

Phase I of the LNG expansion project was scheduled to come on line by the end of the year, but Trunkline LNG informed FERC in June that construction on certain facilities (including vaporization) had been completed ahead of schedule and requested permission to place them in service early. Trunkline said its vaporization facilities are slated for operation in August.

In addition, it reported that BG LNG, which has contracted for the LNG terminal's full capacity, including the expansion, was expecting the arrival of more import supplies soon. BG LNG pressed Trunkline LNG to seek FERC approval for early in-service of the expanded vaporization facilities, according to the order [CP02-60].

BG LNG indicated that its supplier is nearing completion of its liquefaction plant in Egypt and would begin cargo lifting in August. Access to additional vaporization capacity would permit BG LNG to nearly double its sendout at the Lake Charles LNG terminal to 1.2 Bcf/d.

FERC approved Trunkline LNG's request to offer interim service for BG LNG on a portion of its expansion capacity as soon as construction and testing will allow and to establish interim initial rates for firm and interruptible service. Trunkline LNG, however, must receive written permission from FERC's director of the Office of Energy Projects before actually beginning service using the vaporization and associated facilities, the order said.

In an agency order on July 20, FERC said that Trunkline Gas pipeline's 36-inch diameter loop facilities from the Lake Charles terminal and an interconnection with Texas Gas Transmission could go into service immediately, while an interconnection with Tennessee Gas Pipeline could begin operation on July 30. The expanded facilities would bolster the sendout capacity from the Trunkline LNG terminal to 1.2 Bcf/d from 630 MMcf/d.

When fully completed next year, Phase II of the expansion would raise the sustained sendout capacity of the Lake Charles terminal to 1.8 Bcf/d with a peak-day capacity of 2.1 Bcf/d. The additional capacity will be fully contracted to BG LNG under an agreement expiring in 2023.

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