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Suez Moves Forward with Offshore Florida LNG Project

April 10, 2006
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With review of its proposed onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Bahamas stalled, Suez Energy North America said it has put an offshore Florida LNG deepwater port on the fast track by duplicating much of the design work done on its Neptune LNG project offshore Boston.

"The overwhelming feedback we have received from Florida customers is that they need additional LNG-based gas supplies and they need them as soon as possible," said Zin Smati, president and CEO of Suez Energy North America. "It is our intention to meet our customers' needs and be the first supplier of natural gas directly into the southeastern Florida market derived from LNG. We believe our Calypso project is consistent with Gov. [Jeb] Bush's call for fuel diversification as outlined in his comprehensive 2006 Florida Energy Act."

Suez subsidiary Calypso LNG LLC already has filed permit applications with the Coast Guard/Maritime Administration for the proposed Florida project, which would be about 10 miles offshore Port Everglades. The project would utilize a submerged buoy system similar to the one that Excelerate Energy currently has in operation at its Gulf Gateway LNG port offshore Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico and similar to the projects both Excelerate and Suez are planning near Boston Harbor. Specialized LNG cargo ships with onboard regasification equipment would connect to the buoys, regasify their LNG and deliver gas directly into a subsea pipeline. By replicating many of the other projects' specifications, Suez hopes to accelerate the licensing process and create operational synergies.

The Calypso port would include a marine offloading buoy and anchoring system that would reside 150 feet below the ocean surface when not in use. It would connect to an undersea pipeline operated by another Suez subsidiary, Calypso U.S. Pipeline LLC, that would transport the gas from the port to customers in Florida. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission already has issued a certificate for a pipeline that would extend 12 miles offshore to the international boundary. That pipeline originally was designed to serve the onshore Bahamas LNG project. However, Suez intends to utilize that certificated pipeline to serve its new offshore deepwater port. Service is expected in 2009.

In February, William Utt, former CEO of Suez Energy North America, told NGI that the Bahamas government had changed its position on LNG projects. "This government that exists today appears less able to evaluate and feel comfortable making commitments for industrial development," Utt said (see Daily GPI, Feb. 13). "They are very focused on tourism. Some of our programs had been to improve the tourism in the Bahamas. I think a lot of folks are frustrated."

However, Utt said, by utilizing the same design as the Neptune project, an offshore Florida terminal would provide efficiencies that an onshore project probably couldn't provide. He said having two offshore terminals in the Atlantic with similar designs that would incorporate ships with onboard regasification actually would improve the economics of both projects.

"The pipeline already is approved so we will just truncate it offshore," said Utt. "It will be far enough offshore so that the visual impact and the safety impact should be very remote to any Floridian." He said the offshore Florida LNG project would have a sendout capacity of about 800,000 Dth/d.

Suez also owns and operates the onshore Everett, MA, LNG terminal and an LNG terminal in Zeebrugge, Belgium.

Dirk Beeuwsaert, CEO of Suez Energy International said, "The Florida market is very important to us. As our LNG supply and shipping portfolios continue to grow, the Calypso project will increase our already significant position in the Atlantic Basin and give us the critical mass to serve all of our markets with a level of reliability that will be unmatched in the industry."

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ISSN © 2577-9877 | ISSN © 1532-1266
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