Port Dolphin Energy LLC said a record of decision has been signed in its application for a license to build a deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port off the West Coast of Florida. The milestone paves the way for the award of a license from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).

The deepwater port, to be located 28 miles off Tampa Bay, will allow specially designed LNG vessels to deliver regasified LNG through an undersea pipeline connected with the state’s pipeline system four miles inland. The LNG will be regasified onboard the vessels before entering the pipeline. Port Dolphin is a subsidiary of Hoegh LNG (see Daily GPI, July 14; Feb. 21, 2008; April 4, 2007).

An environmental impact statement has been completed for the project, which was approved last month by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (see Daily GPI, Sept. 15).

The Florida Public Service Commission has forecast steadily rising demand for gas in the state. Several planned coal-fired power plants have been canceled, with the state increasingly turning to gas for power production, Hoegh noted.

Port Dolphin’s deepwater port will have peak sendout capacity of up to 1.2 Bcf/d, enough to power more than one million homes. When fully operational, Port Dolphin will supply enough natural gas to meet 15% of Florida’s needs. Construction is set to begin in 2012 with completion in 2013.

Port Dolphin Energy said it will support MARAD’s “U.S. Crewing Initiative” and seek to provide employment and educational opportunities to American officers and mariners.

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