The Neptune Deepwater Port, the offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to be located 10 miles off the coast of Gloucester, MA, is one step closer to reality after SUEZ LNG NA LLC received all of the necessary permits from state officials in Massachusetts. The LNG terminal, which will deliver 400-750 MMcf/d of natural gas to New England markets, is expected to ramp up in 2009.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) granted both the required Chapter 91 license and water quality certification for the facility, and it received its Coastal Zone Management Consistency Certificate from the state's Coastal Zone Management Office. Neptune was grated its deepwater license by the U.S. Maritime Administration in January (see NGI, Feb. 5).

"This is the culmination of three years of intensive work," said SUEZ LNG NA CEO Clay Harris. "Over the next couple of months, we look forward to finalizing the last of the federal environmental permits that follow these from the state in order to bring Neptune on-line and expand our service to meet the growing demand for natural gas in the region in 2009."

Zin Smati, CEO of SUEZ Energy North America, parent of SUEZ LNG, noted that the company has long served the New England market through its Everett LNG import terminal. "Now, through Neptune, we are on track to providing a substantial new inflow of LNG for decades to come." SUEZ Energy North America subsidiary Distrigas of Massachusetts LLC owns and operates the receiving terminal in Everett, MA. SUEZ Energy North America also has a deepwater LNG port now under development off the coast of Florida.

SUEZ executed three contracts totaling more than $10 million to bring Neptune on line. Net Norske Veritas was selected as the facility's engineer. INTEC Engineering will design the 11-mile subsea pipeline lateral to connect the Neptune terminal to the existing HubLine pipeline that spans Massachusetts Bay, which brings gas to the Algonquin pipeline system from the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline. Seaforth Engineering is beginning geotechnical surveys this month for the mooring anchor.

Engineering and construction of the specially designed shuttle and regasification vessels that will serve the Neptune terminal are on schedule at the Samsung Heavy Industries Shipyard in South Korea. In addition, SUEZ expects to execute a contract to purchase the buoy system within the next several weeks.

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