LNG is one of the major fuels of the future, and the construction of LNG regasification facilities across the world is increasing. The US will be one of the largest consumers of natural gas and as such is building a number of import terminals.
The country’s latest project is the Calhoun LNG facility at Port Lavaca-Point Comfort, Texas, on the Matagorda Ship Channel, 100 miles south-west of Houston. The facility is being developed by Gulf Coast LNG Partners LP (GCLP) of Houston. The project is for an LNG import plant with two 5.7 million cubic feet LNG storage tanks and the facility to regasify one billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The project also includes the construction of a Point Comfort pipeline that will run from the terminal to connect to the pipeline system supplying Texas and the Midwest.
In March 2007, GCLP announced that a new consortium comprising KOGAS, LG International, and Houston-based EMS Group (to be called Port Lavaca LNG Services LLC) will be the operator of the new Calhoun LNG terminal. The consortium has operations and maintenance experience of running three LNG terminals in Korea. Port Lavaca LNG Services LLC will also invest in the terminal to become an equity partner.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Calhoun LNG project in September 2007.
Point Comfort Pipeline
The new $62.6m Point Comfort pipeline will be 27 miles long with a 36in diameter, and will have the ability to transfer one billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.
“The Calhoun LNG facility is being developed by Gulf Coast LNG Partners LP.”
The pipeline will integrate with nine major pipelines (five interstate and four intrastate) and will have a five billion cubic feet a day of pipeline takeaway capacity to transfer gas to two-thirds of US and Northern Mexico consumers.
Overall connections for the Point Comfort pipeline include Energy Transfer (Houston Pipe Line/Channel System), Florida Gas Transmission, Kinder Morgan (Texas and Tejas Systems), Enterprise (Valero and Channel Systems), Boardwalk (Gulf South System, Natural Gas Pipeline of America, Transcontinental and Tennessee Gas. The final connection of the pipeline will be with Tennessee Gas, three miles south-west of Edna in Jackson County.
Port Lavaca-Point Comfort was chosen as the LNG terminal site for several reasons. These include:
- It has financial support for the development from Port Lavaca-Point Comfort
- The site has a deepwater port and facilities infrastructure.
- The plant will be close to the US gas supply grid for easy integration.
- The areas has many potential industrial customers, for example, the petrochemicals industry.
- The plant site is situated south of the Alcoa Alumina and Chemical complex and close to Formosa Chemicals’ petrochemical facilities (customers will include Formosa Hydrocarbons Company and Formosa Plastics Company).
Calhoun LNG facilities
The LNG berthing facility will be equipped to accept all sizes of LNG tankers. The unloading area will have three 16in-diameter articulated unloading arms and one 16in flexible vapour return arm. The unloading area will be fully equipped with emergency shutdown controls in case of spills.
“The $62.6m Point Comfort pipeline will transfer one billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.”
The two storage tanks will be of a full containment design. The facility will also have a vaporisation and separation system to warm the liquefied gas back to the gas state ready for transfer and to separate out and store any liquids produced.
A natural gas liquids separation system will be installed to retain ethane and propane in liquid form to sell to petrochemical plants as feedstock. The facility will have automatic fire detection and emergency systems, and a central control room and administration building linked to the port’s control room.