Looking to capitalize on the United States’ recent windfall of vast supplies of natural gas, Excelerate Energy LP is moving forward with the development of the first floating liquefaction facility in the country utilizing its Floating Liquefaction Storage Offloading (FLSO) vessel technology. The Lavaca Bay liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will be located in Port Lavaca, situated between Galveston and Corpus Christi on the Texas Gulf Coast, and will be designed to export LNG to markets worldwide by 2017.

The Woodlands, TX-based company’s FLSO vessel comprises 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of production capacity, 250,000 cubic meters of LNG storage, and a fully integrated gas processing plant. With this gas processing capability, Excelerate said the vessel can accommodate a wide range of gas compositions at its inlet, making it well suited for virtually any application near shore or offshore. For those situations where gas processing is not required due to the presence of existing processing facilities or where pipeline quality gas is used as the feedstock, the processing equipment can be removed and liquefaction capacity increased to 4 mtpa.

When completed, the FLSO vessel will measure 338 meters in length with a breadth of 62 meters. The project is in an advanced phase of Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) and Excelerate is entering into discussions with potential offtakers and natural gas suppliers as well as investors and potential sources of finance to take the project forward. FEED is expected to last until the end of 2012, and following its completion and successful permitting project delivery will take approximately 44 months from final investment decision.

“Excelerate Energy applies the same philosophy to its liquefaction vessel design as it does to its regasification vessel fleet — essentially using proven technology in an innovative way to provide more efficient and timely solutions to the LNG industry,” stated Excelerate CEO Rob Bryngelson. “Port Lavaca provides us with the unique opportunity to further capitalize on our position as a market leader in floating LNG solutions.”

In its initial phase, the Lavaca Bay LNG project will consist of one permanently moored FLSO vessel with multiple connections to the onshore natural gas grid in South Texas. The project will be designed with the potential for expansion and the addition of a second FLSO vessel over time for a total production capacity of up to 8 mtpa. Excelerate said it expects to begin the export authorization and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permitting immediately. The Port Lavaca location has previously received FERC approval as an LNG import facility, which Excelerate said should facilitate the permitting process.

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.

Over the last eight years Excelerate has continued to build out its LNG business. During that time, the company has developed nine Energy Bridge floating storage and regasification units, two Gateway offshore LNG importation terminals and four dockside GasPort LNG importation terminals (see Daily GPI, April 20, 2011; March 25, 2010).

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