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Another Gulf of Mexico LNG terminal starts up

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

HOUSTON, July 31 -- Sempra LNG, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, said on July 31 that its second North American LNG terminal, this one near Lake Charles, La., has begun commercial operations.

Over the past month, start-up and commissioning at the 1.5-bcfd terminal have been completed, including arrival of the first two LNG commissioning cargoes and approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin operations, said the announcement.

Cameron LNG's first cargo arrived June 21 from Atlantic LNG in Trinidad & Tobago aboard BP's British Diamond. A second LNG carrier, BP's British Emerald, arrived June 30, also from Trinidad.

Sempra LNG owns 100% of the Cameron LNG terminal and has sold 40% of its processing capacity to Italy's Eni SPA under a 20-year terminal-services agreement.

In June, Sempra LNG announced it had signed a flexible agreement to purchase up to 50 cargoes from Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ltd., an affiliate of RasGas Co. Ltd. The agreement allows cargoes to begin Aug. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2010. Each cargo could contain up to the equivalent of 4.8 bcf.

Other terminals
Sempra LNG's other receiving terminal, Energia Costa Azul in Baja California, Mexico, began operations in May 2008 (OGJ Online, Mar. 24, 2008). The 1-bcfd terminal is the first on the west coast of North America.

Sempra’s Cameron terminal joins three other LNG terminals operating on the US Gulf Coast, two in Louisiana and one in Texas. Trunkline LNG’s Lake Charles terminal opened in 1982 and has been expanded twice since. Cheniere Energy opened its Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parrish, La., in 2008, and is nearing completion of its expansion to 4 bcfd. Freeport LNG, on the Texas Coast south of Houston, also opened last year (OGJ, Apr. 28, 2008, p. 53).

Another terminal is under construction, this one on the Texas side of Sabine Pass. ExxonMobil’s Golden Pass terminal was to have opened this year, but damage from Hurricane Ike in September 2008 and weak market conditions have pushed that opening to late 2009 or first-half 2010.

Farther east, at Pascagoula, Miss., El Paso Corp. is building the 1.3-bcfd Gulf LNG facility. The terminal’s capacity is fully contracted under 20-year contracts and targets start-up sometime in 2011 (OGJ, July 6, 2009, p. 32).

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