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Five LNG Projects Receive FERC Approval

The East and Gulf Coasts could receive as much as 9.7 Bcf/d in new LNG deliveries from five projects, including two expansions and three new LNG import terminals, that were approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its regular meeting last Thursday.

The 8.2 Bcf/d of initial capacity from the expansions and greenfield projects, to be ramped up to 9.7 Bcf/d, "is twice what we would get from the Alaska pipeline," Chairman Joseph Kelliher said, adding that the projects represent "a significant new supply." Kelliher also pointed out that the Commission had included between 35 and 55 provisions directed at safety in each certificate. The five projects include 361 miles of pipeline laterals, 23 horsepower of compression and added storage.

Commissioner Suedeen Kelly noted that two of the projects would serve the Mid-Atlantic region, an area that suffers high transportation costs and decreased availability from traditional production areas because of its distance from those areas. The two in the Mid-Atlantic are BP's $500 million Crown Landing terminal in Logan Township, NJ, and an expansion of Dominion Cove Point's LNG terminal in Calvert County, MD.

Crown Landing LLC's proposed 1.2 Bcf/d terminal would be built along the Delaware River, but the project will be in limbo until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision on whether Delaware has the right to block construction of the terminal (see NGI, Dec. 5, 2005).

. BP's $500 million Crown Landing terminal project calls for the construction of 9.2 Bcf of storage and vaporization facilities, with a baseload sendout rate of 1.2 Bcf/d and peak rate of 1.4 Bcf/d.

As part of the Cove Point case, the Commission rejected claims made by Washington Gas Light (WGL) that regasified LNG from Cove Point had led to leaks on WGL's distribution system. A technical investigation into the allegations about leaks proved those allegations to be false, FERC said. Commission staff and outside experts said the leaks were caused by increased pressure on an old system, old pipe and seams that were overlaid with hot tar affecting the seals (see NGI, July 11, 2005; Nov. 7, 2005).

The Cove Point expansion, which is scheduled for 2008, would increase the sendout capacity to 1.8 Bcf/d from 1 Bcf/d, and would boost storage capacity to 14.6 Bcf from 7.8 Bcf. The project calls for the construction of two 160,000 cubic meter single-containment LNG storage tanks. Affiliate Dominion Transmission Inc. also proposes to construct 161 miles of mostly 36-inch and 24-inch diameter pipeline in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and associated aboveground facilities in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.

A subsidiary of the Norwegian oil and gas company, Statoil ASA, has purchased 100% of the new station capacity for the next 20 years. Statoil will purchase firm LNG tanker discharge services and related transportation, as well as downstream firm transportation and storage services.

The other expansion that was approved was to Cheniere's Sabine Pass project. It would increase the sendout capacity of the proposed Louisiana import terminal to 4 Bcf/d from 2.6 Bcf/d, would add 480,000 cubic meters of storage space and would allow up to 400 ships per year to bring LNG to the terminal.

Staff also said the LNG expansion orders ensure that existing customers will not pay the costs of the expansions. The LNG companies are directed to keep separate books and records on the existing and expansion facilities.

The other two greenfield LNG import terminals that were approved include Cheniere Energy's $900 million Creole Trail LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, LA and Sempra's $700 million Port Arthur LNG project in Jefferson County, TX. Creole Trail would provide 3.3 Bcf/d of sendout capacity and includes an associated 118-mile, 3.3 Bcf/d pipeline to be constructed by affiliate Cheniere Creole Trail Pipeline.

Port Arthur LNG would be built in two phases and completed in 2009. Phase I would permit the terminal to send out 1.5 Bcf/d of regasified LNG on a firm basis by the winter heating season of 2008-2009. Construction of Phase II would increase the sendout capability by an additional 1.5 Bcf/d of gas on a firm basis as early as 2010. Affiliate Port Arthur Pipeline LP proposes to build and operate a 70-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline leg, which would interconnect with Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line, and a three-mile pipeline leg to Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America in Jefferson County.

The Commission granted environmental approvals to all five LNG projects within the last two months (see NGI, May 1 and May 8).

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