Golden Pass LNG terminal to receive commissioning cargo

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

HOUSTON, Sept. 29 -- ExxonMobil Corp.’s Golden Pass LNG terminal, on the Sabine Pass waterway in Jefferson County near Port Arthur, Tex., will receive its first commissioning cargo during October, the company announced. The cargo will arrive from Ras Laffan in Qatar aboard the 210,000-cu m Al Khuwair Q-Flex LNG tanker.

The terminal includes two berths for unloading double-hulled LNG carriers; five 155,000-cu m LNG storage tanks; vaporization in two trains; and pipelines and equipment to move natural gas from terminal to customers.

At full operation, Golden Pass will be able to import 15.6 million tonnes/year, according to the project’s web site, and be able to deliver the equivalent of 2 bcfd of natural gas. The terminal is a joint venture of Qatar Petroleum International 70%, ExxonMobil 17.6%, and ConocoPhillips 12.4%.

The terminal was on schedule to open last year when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Ike in September 2008 (OGJ, July 6, 2009, p. 32). It is the fourth LNG terminal to open on the US Gulf Coast since Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, La., and Freeport LNG’s terminal south of Freeport, Tex., opened in mid-2008. Sempra Energy began operating its 1.5-bcfd Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, La., in mid-2009 (OGJ Online, Oct. 22, 2009).

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

This will likely be the last LNG terminal built in the Lower 48 for some time, given the low prices offered here compared with LNG markets in Europe and Asia and the growth of US gas reserves thanks to shale gas development.

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

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