Gulf of Mexico site chosen for first US floating LNG plant

Excelerate Energy LP, Houston, will develop the first US floating natural gas liquefaction plant for Port Lavaca, between Galveston and Corpus Christi, Tex. The Lavaca Bay LNG project will be designed to export LNG by 2017.

The company said it selected Port Lavaca because of its direct access to the “highly liquid South Texas natural gas market, access to the Atlantic Basin through the Gulf of Mexico, and potential access to the Pacific Basin with the widening of the Panama Canal.”

Excelerate’s floating liquefaction storage offloading (FLSO) vessel will be able to produce 3 million tonnes/year (tpy), store 250,000 cu m of LNG, and support a “fully integrated” gas processing plant, according to the company’s announcement.

The gas processing capability will allow the vessel to “accommodate a wide range of gas compositions at its inlet.” When gas processing is not required, when existing processing is available or pipeline-quality gas is the feedstock, the processing equipment can be removed and liquefaction capacity increased to 4 million tpy.

The FLSO will measure 338 m long with a breadth of 62 m.

Front-end engineering and design is in an advanced phase, said Excelerate, which is beginning discussions with “potential off takers and natural gas suppliers as well as investors and potential sources of finance to take the project forward.”

Excelerate expects the FEED to last until yearend and, following its completion and successful permitting, project delivery will take about 44 months from final investment decision.

Initially, Lavaca Bay LNG will consist of one permanently moored FLSO with multiple connections to the onshore natural gas grid in South Texas. The project will be designed with the potential for expansion and the addition of a second FLSO for a total production capacity of up to 8 million tpy.

Excelerate said it expects to begin the export authorization and US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitting immediately and is completing its site-specific final FEED. It further said the Port Lavaca location has previously received FERC approval as an LNG import facility, which “should facilitate the permitting process.”

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