Coming one giant step closer to the creation of the first floating liquefaction facility in the United States utilizing its Floating Liquefaction Storage Offloading (FLSO) vessel technology, Excelerate Energy reported Monday that the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has granted the company a long-term, multi-contract authorization to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to free trade agreement nations from its Lavaca Bay LNG project.

The Lavaca Bay LNG project will be located in Port Lavaca, TX, situated between Galveston and Corpus Christi on the Texas Gulf Coast, and will be designed to export LNG to markets worldwide by 2017. Under DOE approval, The Woodlands, TX-based company will be authorized to export up to 10 million metric tons per annum of LNG produced from domestic resources for a 20-year term commencing on the date of its first export.

Looking to capitalize on the United States' recent windfall of vast supplies of natural gas, Excelerate said this past spring it was moving forward with the development of the first floating liquefaction facility in the country utilizing its FLSO vessel technology (see Daily GPI, May 16). Excelerate said it chose Port Lavaca for the site of the facility because of its direct access to the "highly liquid" South Texas natural gas market, access to the Atlantic Basin through the Gulf of Mexico and potential access to the Pacific Basin with the widening of the Panama Canal.

In July it was reported that OGS, an engineering and project management company partnered with Samsung Heavy Industries, has won the topsides Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) work for the Lavaca Bay FLSO Project. OGS previously collaborated with Excelerate Energy for a FEED on a similar vessel for a location outside of the Unites States.

Even with the DOE contract in hand, the Lavaca Bay LNG project still has a ways to go before crossing the finish line. The facility will require authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Excelerate said it will begin the FERC pre-filing process during 4Q2012 and expects the facility to be in-service in 2017.

In addition to its work on the FLSO, Excelerate is also working to increase its fleet of floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) around the world. Looking to expand its ability to offload and convert LNG from ships to pipeline-grade natural gas, Excelerate said last week that it has reached a shipbuilding option agreement with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for the delivery of up to eight FSRUs between early 2015 and early 2017 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 9).

The company said the agreement would give it the ability to increase its fleet of nine FSRUs as global demand for LNG import solutions continues to expand rapidly.

The initial options are for 6.1 MMcf (173,400 cubic meter) LNG FSRUs that would measure 294 meters in length and 46 meters in width and be capable of a baseload send-out capacity of 800 MMcf/d, with peaking capacity in excess of 950 MMcf/d. The FSRUs would be based on Excelerate's ninth FSRU under construction at DSME and committed to the Petrobras VT3 project, which would deliver 20 million cubic meters per day of natural gas to the southeast region of Brazil.

Excelerate said it has the option for smaller or larger capacity vessels depending on the future requirements of the market. The new regasification vessels would incorporate the company's Energy Bridge technologies (see Daily GPI, April 23, 2007).

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