El Paso Corp.’s Southern LNG Inc. has announced an open season to expand its soon-to-reopen Elba Island liquefied natural gas receiving terminal near Savannah, GA by approximately 80%. Southern LNG wants to offer an additional 3.3 Bcf of storage capacity with a send-out rate of 360 MMcf/d, with a planned in-service date of 2005. The Elba Island facility, which has been inactive since 1982, is scheduled to begin receiving shipments this month, and its expansion plans follow on the heels of two other domestic LNG expansions already in the works.

Volumes are expected to increase toward a design send-out rate of 440 MMcf/d by 2003. With the $145 million planned expansion by 2005, Southern LNG said that the send-out rate then would increase to approximately 800 MMcf/d with minimal environmental impact.

“The recommissioning of El Island is a landmark event, and the announcement of this planned expansion — before we’ve received even the first shipment — demonstrates our commitment to meet the growing demand for natural gas in the Southeast markets,” said Jim Yardley, president of Southern LNG. “In a growing market that relies nearly exclusively on North American natural gas supply, we’re fortunate in the Southeast to have an existing facility at El Island that will provide our customers with access to diversified supplies from around the world.”

Southern LNG’s open season will close Dec. 14. For information, call Bruce Hughes at (205) 325-7146.

Southern LNG’s announcement to expand follows an announcement by Cabot LNG in June to expand its receiving terminal (see NGI, June 4). The Tractebel-owned facility, located in Everett, MA, is currently the only active LNG importer on the East Coast. In June, it entered into a second 20-year charter agreement with Norwegian shipping giant Bergesen for a 138,000 cubic meter LNG carrier. Cabot’s first carrier agreement was completed in November 2000 and both vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2003, which coincides with Southern LNG’s first scheduled LNG send-out rate increase.

In April, Lake Charles, LA-based CMS Trunkline LNG, the largest LNG import facility now operating in the United States, also announced plans to expand after receiving authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to grow its peak send-out capacity of its terminal this summer to 1 Bcf/d from 700 MMcf/d (see NGI, April 9). The company is also evaluating further expansion to increase daily send-out capacity to 1.3 Bcf/d.

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