Northeast Gateway LNG port starts operation

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, May 19 -- Houston-based Excelerate Energy LLC's Northeast Gateway (NEG) Deepwater LNG Port in Massachusetts Bay, 18 miles east of Boston, has begun commercial operations. The company's regasification vessel Excellence off-loaded its natural gas cargo into the HubLine pipeline system, which is operated by Spectra Energy, also of Houston.

With the inaugural delivery, Excellence will offload 1 bcf of gas to test all of the port and pipeline systems. The system will be able to handle peak deliveries of 800 MMcfd of gas through two turret buoys and under normal operations will deliver about 500 MMcfd.

"This delivery is a milestone in efforts to bring a new, safe, clean, affordable energy source to the New England region in record time," said Rob Bryngelson, Excelerate Energy's chief executive. He described his company's ship-board regasification technology as "the quickest, least expensive, and most environmentally responsible way to bring new natural gas supplies to markets."

It is the first new LNG receiving facility to be built on the US East Coast in more than 30 years. Excelerate Energy began the permitting process in June 2005 and received its license for the facility a year ago. Construction was completed in December. The preliminary commissioning occurred in February.

Excelerate Energy and Spectra Energy earlier teamed to extend a 16-mile, 24-in. pipeline lateral from the HubLine to the NEG deepwater port. New England's gas demand is expected to increase considerably in coming years, and the NEG project will bring these supplies. Ultimately, it will be capable of supplying as much as 20% of New England's gas demand.

The system developed by Excelerate Energy allows purpose-built vessels to regasify cargoes of LNG using existing technology in a new application and to deliver vaporous gas through one of two turret-loading buoys some 90 ft below the water surface. The vessel draws one of the two buoys into a specially designed compartment and connects it to the onboard regasification equipment. The buoys not only act as a conduit for gas delivery but also as mooring for the vessels, eliminating the need to anchor ships at the deepwater port. The system was designed and tested with crude in the North Sea. Excelerate Energy used it in the Gulf of Mexico to bring in gas supplies when other suppliers were shut down by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The vessels retain their conventional LNG discharge capability, enabling the vessels to offload at standard land-based LNG terminals and Excelerate Energy's proprietary receipt points around the world.

Excelerate Energy pioneered LNG transshipment via ship-to-ship transfer, further increasing the flexibility of its operations. State-of-the-art technology is used to reduce air and water emissions to nominal levels. While operating at NEG, the vessels are able to reduce their nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by nearly 90% and their water consumption and discharge by nearly 98%.

Excelerate also operates the Gulf Gateway Deepwater Port in the Gulf of Mexico about 116 miles south of Louisiana. The company has also pioneered GasPort technology comprising dockside LNG regasification facilities. Its first GasPort at Teesside in the UK was commissioned in February 2007.

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