Since last November Excelerate Energy LP's Northeast Gateway (NEG) Deepwater Port off the coast of Massachusetts has received seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes, Excelerate said. The deliveries represent a significant increase in traffic at the nearly two-year-old port.

The most recent cargo arrived in the tanker Exquisite, which left the port on March 8, the company said. Overall, the terminal has received nine cargoes, including a commissioning cargo in May 2008 (see NGI, May 26, 2008), according to an Excelerate spokesperson.

For the week ending March 22 gas sendout from U.S. LNG terminals averaged 1.13 Bcf/d, according to Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities Inc. In February sendout averaged 1.7 Bcf/d, compared with 1 Bcf/d in February 2009. In January sendout was 2.3 Bcf/d, up from 1.1 Bcf/d in January 2009.

Delivering gas at sendout rates varying 180 MMcf/d to 500 MMcf/d, Northeast Gateway this past winter received a new delivery about every 10 days from the tankers Excellence, Explorer, Express, Exquisite and Excelerate. Cargoes were sourced from Egypt, Trinidad and Qatar, and the volumes were marketed to customers in the Northeast by Barclays Capital (see NGI, Dec. 7, 2009).

The tankers serving the port use Excelerate's Energy Bridge design, which allows for regasification of the LNG onboard the vessel for shipment via pipeline to onshore facilities.

Andree Stracke, Excelerate chief commercial officer, told NGI the company expects to bring more cargoes to Northeast Gateway this summer, although the price premium for LNG is not as high as it is during the winter. He also said the port could see some LNG sourced from Norway in the future and possibly another country that he wouldn't name.

Excelerate currently has seven tankers on the water with an eighth, Expedient, expected to be delivered in about a week in South Korea. The new tanker plus five of the existing ships are capable of serving Northeast Gateway, Stracke said. On some days the port can discharge two ships simultaneously, he noted.

Northeast Gateway began commercial operation in 2008. It is about 15 miles east of Boston in Massachusetts Bay. Excelerate contracted with Algonquin Gas Transmission to extend a 16-mile pipeline lateral from Spectra Energy's HubLine to the Deepwater Port. A blockage in the Algonquin pipeline hampered deliveries at Northeast Gateway last spring (see NGI, May 11, 2009).

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