Freeport LNG applies to install NGL extraction

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

HOUSTON, Aug. 21 -- Earlier this month, Freeport LNG Development LP, Houston, applied to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build and operate an NGL extraction system at its Quintana Island terminal, south of Freeport, Tex.

The system would recover mostly ethane, propane, and butane from the terminal's LNG throughput. It will consist of two 400-MMcfd NGL extraction trains, a 60,000-b/d depropanizer, two NGL pipelines (8-in. and 12-in. OD), and an NGL delivery pipeline and associated metering, pigging, and valve facilities.

Planned in-service for the system is June 2011.

Flexibility sought
If the company succeeds in its application, its terminal would be only the second in the US with the capacity to strip liquids from the LNG imported through it. Trunkline LNG, Lake Charles, is the other.

Such capacity at an LNG terminal gives it greater operational and commercial flexibility.

Historically, US terminals have imported LNG from a small group of suppliers whose products meet the lower heating-value requirements of the country’s natural gas pipeline systems. But as the number of global suppliers has grown, so has the variability of the gas compositions of the LNG supply.

Being able to strip out hydrocarbon liquids from streams of so-called “hot” or rich LNG allows the terminal to accept supplies from a wider range of producers.

Also, Freeport LNG’s plans, and those at Trunkline, introduce the possibility of another revenue stream for the terminal: sale of NGLs as feedstock to Gulf Coast petrochemical producers. And Freeport is home to one of the largest: Dow Chemical Co.

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

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