Americas to see LNG terminals commissioned in June

Warren R. True
OGJ Chief Technology Editor-LNG/Gas Processing

HOUSTON, May 20 -- In June, three LNG terminals in the Americas will begin commissioning.

In North America, Repsol's Canaport LNG at St. John, NB, and Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG terminal near Lake Charles, La., will each accept commissioning cargoes. In South America, Chile's Quintero Bay LNG terminal will become the region's first land-based terminal.

North America
Irving Oil Ltd. (25%) and Repsol-YPF SA (75%) are partners in the 1-bcfd Canaport terminal, Canada's first LNG import terminal. It will have three 160,000-cu m full-containment tanks and a loading jetty that can handle carriers up to 200,000-cu m with four 16-in. liquid loading arms and one 16-in. gas-handling arm.

Estimated cost of the terminal is more than $750 million (Can.).

The commissioning vessel, whose name has yet to be released, is probably going to obtain its cargo from Atlantic LNG at Point Fortin on Trinidad and Tobago. The most likely vessel size will be the workhorse 138,000-cu m carrier in Repsol-YPF's fleet, according to LNG vessel watchers at Waterborne LNG, Houston, and EA Gibson Shipbrokers, London.

Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG terminal near Lake Charles anticipates commissioning next month with commercial operations starting in third quarter, according to Sempra Chairman Donald Felsinger speaking earlier this month.

Cameron is owned entirely by Sempra and lies 18 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico in Hackberry, La., on the Calcasieu Channel. It will the seventh land-based terminal for the US. Three other terminals are offshore, each using Excelerate Energy's EnergyBridge configuration.

Sempra began construction at Cameron in 2005. It has three 160,000-cu m full-containment tanks and two ship berths and will be able to send out up to 1.5 bcfd with room for expansion.

Capital investment, according to the company, will eventually reach about $850 million.

Sempra Energy spokesman Art Larson said Sempra does not "provide advance information re: the scheduling of anticipated shipment(s)." Waterborne Energy's Steve Johnson told OGJ that Cameron's "first two deliveries" are going to be on Q-Flex (216,000 cu m) vessels.

South America
Chile this year will become South America's third LNG importer but will boast the region's first and only conventional land-based terminal.

The consortium Quintero LNG will begin commissioning its 2.5-million tonne/year terminal north of Valparaiso at Quintero Bay in June. The consortium consists of BG (40%), Chilean state-owned petroleum company Enap (20%), gas distributor Metrogras (20%), and Endesa (20%). Plateau demand from this terminal is 1.7 million tpy.

Source for the commissioning cargo will likely be a BG operation or one with which it can execute a swap. Given the terminal's location and the reluctance of most vessels to traverse Cape Horn, industry speculation has been that the commissioning cargo will be aboard a 145,000-cu m vessel from Asia, possibly Australia.

The first LNG carrier to negotiate Cape Horn was the 145,000-cu m Bluesky last year on its way to Sempra LNG's Costa Azul terminal at Baja California, Mexico.

A second, 1.4-million tpy Chilean terminal at Mejillones, owned by GDF Suez and copper producer Codelco, should also complete construction later this year, with start-up slated for January 2010.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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