Florida’s governor has put his support behind the proposed Port Dolphin Energy LLC deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port project, which would provide the state with a new source of natural gas.

As part of the federal permitting process, Gov. Charlie Crist is required to express support or opposition, or take no position at all, for the proposed LNG terminal. Port Dolphin is a subsidiary of Norway’s Hoegh LNG.

Port Dolphin plans to construct a deepwater port 28 miles off the coast of Manatee County (see Daily GPI, July 14; Feb. 21, 2008; April 4, 2007). LNG tankers arriving at the port would link with a natural gas pipeline running from the offshore terminal to Port Manatee and then inland for four miles before interconnecting with the state’s natural gas pipeline grid. The LNG would be returned to a gaseous state onboard the vessels and fed into the pipeline.

“When completed in 2013, Port Dolphin will be able to provide Florida utilities with another source of clean energy,” said Hoegh LNG CEO Sveinung J. Stohle. “This approval marks more than three years of development work on the project and confirms Hoegh LNG’s strategy to design and develop a new competitive LNG market access into the Florida natural gas market. Port Dolphin will offer our customers new LNG import capacity and thus the possibility for marketers to diversify their sources and increase the security of supply to their consumers in the United States, while LNG owners are offered an alternative and flexible solution for access to the attractive Florida natural gas market.”

Permitting of the project is expected to be completed by 2010. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011.

Hoegh LNG operates four LNG carriers and has two shuttle and regasification vessels on order.

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