Sempra Energy LNG announced its third proposed North American liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal Wednesday. The $600 million project would provide 1.5 Bcf/d of gas supply in Port Arthur, TX, and would feature three storage tanks each with a capacity of 160,000 cubic meters. It is the seventh proposed LNG terminal along the Gulf Coast of Texas.

The Port Arthur facility would be constructed on part of a 3,000-acre parcel of land along the Port Arthur Ship Canal. The parcel has been owned by Sempra Energy since 1989.

Sempra’s announcement coincides with a pre-filing notification the company submitted with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday. FERC already has granted a certificate to Sempra’s Cameron LNG terminal, which would be located in Hackberry, LA. The project is the first new LNG terminal approved for construction in the United States in more than 20 years (see NGI, Sept. 15, 2003).

Sempra and its partner, Shell, also are building an LNG terminal in Baja California, Mexico. Both the Louisiana and Baja California terminals are scheduled for service in 2007. The Port Arthur project is slated to begin construction in 2006 with start-up in 2009.

The Port Arthur LNG project would feature two unloading berths, and would be capable of doubling its storage capacity in the future to accommodate three additional storage tanks and facilities. The future expansion would allow the Port Arthur project to process 3 Bcf/d of gas.

Donald E. Felsinger, group president of Sempra Energy Global Enterprises, said the company is pursuing capacity and supply contracts with interested parties who would use the facility to move gas into the North American gas market. He said Sempra has more to offer than other terminal developers because it also is North America’s second largest gas marketer. “We can provide a full range of services for suppliers who do not have a presence here,” he said.

Sempra said it focused on 2009 as the start-up date after discussions with suppliers for the Baja California and Louisiana terminals. “We have determined that there is a clear need for additional LNG receipt facilities in the 2009 time period,” said Darcel Hulse, president of Sempra Energy LNG. “Our Port Arthur LNG project is ideally situated to meet the needs of those suppliers, and it has positive support from the local community.”

Later this year, Sempra plans to have supply and capacity contracts in place and begin construction of its two other LNG terminals. Energia Costa Azul, located north of Ensenada, Baja California, would process 1 Bcf/d of gas, while the Cameron LNG facility would process 1.5 Bcf/d. Energia Costa Azul is the first LNG project in Baja California to receive all key approvals and it would be the first new West Coast LNG facility constructed in North America.

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