Following through on its plan to stick with only one onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, ExxonMobil said Monday that it will probably sell the Vista del Sol project near Corpus Christi, TX, to another operator before the end of the year and will focus on its Golden Pass LNG project, which is already under construction in Sabine Pass, TX.

“We’ve decided not to go forward with Vista del Sol, and the reason is we basically do not need two locations,” said ExxonMobil spokesman Bob Davis. He noted that Golden Pass is farther north and is in closer proximity to ExxonMobil’s Beaumont, TX, refinery and to other gas markets. “They are both excellent sites with deepwater, but we are going to be running 2 Bcf/d through Golden Pass. I think the closer proximity to the refinery from a feedstock basis” plus the 70-mile pipeline to Starks, LA, made Golden Pass the better option.

Davis noted the company already has made steady progress on Golden Pass. ExxonMobil awarded a $1 billion lump-sum turnkey contract to Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. (CB&I) earlier this month for construction of the terminal, which is expected to be completed in 2009 when it will begin receiving LNG from Qatar (see Daily GPI, Aug. 2).

Golden Pass will have an import capacity to process 15.6 million tons per year of LNG. The terminal includes two ship unloading berths, five full-containment LNG storage tanks, each with a capacity of 155,000 cubic meters, a regasification and sendout system, and related ancillary facilities. Initial engineering, procurement and site preparation activities are under way.

Golden Pass LNG LLC, the owner of the Golden Pass LNG terminal, is expected to be 70% owned by an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum, with affiliates of ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips each owning a share in the balance of the interest in the terminal.

The $600 million Vista del Sol project, about two miles west of Ingleside along the Gulf Coast in San Patricio County, TX, was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in June 2005. It would have sendout capacity of 1.1 Bcf/d as well as three 155,000-cubic-meter storage containment LNG storage tanks and a 25.3-mile pipeline with potential interconnects with up to eight existing interstate and intrastate pipeline systems (see Daily GPI, June 16, 2005).

“Vista del Sol has been pretty much sitting,” said Davis. “We’ve done no site work or anything like that. We are looking to market the property and permit. We have an option on the property, and I believe that option expires this year so there is certainly some timing consideration relative to the market. If the option expires it would be kind of a moot situation.”

Davis noted that ExxonMobil has spent a considerable amount of money finding the best location for an LNG project along the Gulf Coast. In addition to Vista del Sol, ExxonMobil also canceled the Pearl Crossing offshore LNG deepwater port and another onshore project originally planned near Mobile, AL. “We were looking at a number of options,” he said. “That’s pretty normal in these kinds of things just to give us some flexibility” (see Daily GPI, Jan. 24, 2005).

©Copyright 2006Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.