Norwegian-based TORP Technology hopes to be the Gulf Coast's low-cost liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal operator when its proposed $400 million offshore Alabama regasification project enters service in about three years. An application for a deepwater port license for TORP's Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal was filed earlier this month with the Coast Guard and Maritime Administration.
The 1.4 Bcf/d project, which would be located 63 miles south of Dauphin Island, would use a unique design incorporating a floating structure with an onboard regasification system that would allow any existing LNG cargo ship to offload LNG.
"It looks like a giant floating fork lift," CEO Lars Odeskaug said in an interview with NGI. "The advantage is that we can connect to any LNG carrier and then that carrier in effect becomes a regas ship. With this technology, we can make all LNG carriers into regas ships. Your capital is working for you all the time. We are definitely the low-cost alternative to the onshore terminals."
He also said that unlike Excelerate's existing Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge, TORP does not have to build its own regasification ships. "[Excelerate] has to put special equipment onboard each carrier. There's only a small number of ships that can go to their terminal. They have two ships sailing now and another three on order so a total of only five ships can go to that terminal. All 356 existing ships [in the worldwide LNG fleet] can go to our terminal."
In addition to the Excelerate project, TORP's facility would be in competition with the Compass Port terminal proposed near Dauphin Island by ConocoPhillips. The Maritime Administration is expected to issue a final decision on Compass Port this month.
The gas from TORP's Bienville LNG port would flow through existing natural gas pipelines to Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. TORP officials said they expect to receive a deepwater port license by 1Q2007.
"We selected this location for the high takeaway capacity to some of the best gas markets in the U.S.," Odeskaug said in a statement. "And at this location, deep offshore, the terminal is well over the horizon and does not represent a safety threat to the coastal population."
Odeskaug also said because the terminal is in deeper water than most of the other proposed offshore terminals it will have less impact on marine life. It will use a modified open loop vaporization process that uses seawater to regasify the LNG. But the chilled water will be dispersed differently than other offshore terminals, said Odeskaug. "We're in 525 feet of water and the features on our seawater intakes have been designed to minimize the impact on the environment. We have designed our seawater filters such that we don't actually suck in marine life."
TORP plans to use the same technology, developed by one of TORP's owners, Remora Technology, to build the Dorado HiLoad LNG terminal proposed by Tidelands Oil & Gas offshore Tamaulipas, Mexico.
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