FERC has given the environmental go-ahead for a project proposed by Trunkline LNG Co. LLC that would use ambient heat to reduce the amount of fuel gas needed in the vaporization of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its import terminal in Lake Charles, LA.

The so-called “Infrastructure Enhancement Project” calls for Trunkline LNG to install ambient air vaporization (AAV) facilities for the entire 1.8 Bcf/d sendout capacity of the import terminal. The AAV system would allow Trunkline LNG to regasify LNG using the surrounding air temperature, thus reducing the amount of fuel that would typically be used by the existing submerged combustion vaporizer (SCV) facilities, said the Houston-based company, which is an indirect subsidiary of Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co., a unit of Southern Union Co.

In layman’s terms, the AAV facilities will use surrounding air to warm LNG to a temperature that allows it to transition from a liquid to a gas. Currently Trunkline LNG said it uses approximately 1.6% of sendout as fuel for the existing SCV facilities. The savings in fuel gas will result in lower operating costs for Trunkline’s customer, BG LNG Services LLC.

The project also includes the installation of processing equipment that will have the capability of extracting ethane and other heavier hydrocarbons from approximately half of the terminal’s daily sendout before the gas is sent to the pipeline and then delivered to downstream markets, Trunkline LNG said. The installation of the natural gas liquid processing equipment would permit BG LNG to import LNG from a more diverse supply portfolio, including LNG trains with a higher Btu content.

Trunkline LNG has called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the project this month so that the facilities can be constructed and placed in service in the July-August 2008 time period.

Trunkline LNG completed the Phase II expansion of its Lake Charles terminal in July of this year, increasing sustained sendout capacity to 1.8 Bcf/d and peak sendout capacity to 2.1 Bcf/d. The Phase II expansion also included the construction of unloading capabilities at the terminal’s second dock.

The Phase I expansion, which included a second ship berth and new LNG storage tank that increased terminal storage capacity to 9 Bcf, was placed in service in April.

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