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Excalibur Energy Plans Project to Receive LNG Offshore New Jersey

New Jersey-based Excalibur Energy (USA) Inc., a joint venture of Canadian Superior Energy Inc. and Global LNG Inc., last Tuesday announced plans to build a $550 million natural gas pipeline and associated import turret system to meet the growing energy demands of the Northeast region, primarily New Jersey and New York.

The Liberty Natural Gas Transmission Project would be a deepwater pipeline system that receives regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) from tankers in federal waters 15 miles offshore New Jersey. Pending regulatory approvals, the project is expected to begin delivery of up to 2.4 Bcf/d of gas by late 2011, the company said.

The project consists of a fully submerged offshore gas importation turret anchored to the seafloor off the coast of New Jersey; 50 miles of 36-inch diameter offshore pipeline, which will not follow a straight line; a directionally drilled underground shoreline approach near South Amboy, NJ; and 11 miles of onshore pipeline in an existing industrial corridor to Linden, NJ, where the pipeline interconnects with existing gas pipes, Excalibur Energy said.

The LNG tankers would temporarily connect to permanently anchored turrets. The LNG would be regasified to ambient temperatures onboard the ships and pumped through the turrets into the pipeline, the company said. There would be no structures visible from the shoreline, including the LNG ships, according to Excalibur Energy.

The company is looking to Trinidad as a key supplier of its LNG, according to Excalibur Energy CEO Roger Whelan. Canadian Superior is a an acreage holder offshore Trinidad, he said.

Natural gas offloading would be accomplished using a closed-loop regasification system and marine life would not be subjected to any temperature variances associated with the process, the company said. The seabed would only be disturbed during the installation of the pipeline, it noted. The company said it plans to file the necessary government and regulatory applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Maritime Administration, New Jersey and possibly New York in the first quarter of 2009.

The Liberty pipeline project, which has been two years in development, would provide "safe and efficient natural gas to New Jersey without compromising safety or the clean waters off the Jersey shore. We will not create any unsightly infrastructure visible from the shore," Whelan said. "Our approach is not groundbreaking in the use of natural gas, but rather how we safely reach this rapidly growing and important market to the U.S. using a simple design."

The Energy Information Administration projects that the region's growing population will need an additional 30% more energy in the coming decades relative to the current demand, with energy shortfalls beginning as soon as 2012, Excalibur Energy said.

The announcement of the project comes almost two months after the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Delaware could block the construction of an off-loading pier that would serve an LNG terminal proposed by BP's Crown Landing LLC along the Delaware River in Logan Township, NJ ( see NGI, April 7). But Whelan does not expect any interference from Delaware, given that the Liberty project is to be built in federal waters.

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