NEW VIEW Fabrication is moving full-speed ahead on patented system for docking LNG ships. (Photo left courtesy of Excelerate Energy LLC)

Norway-based engineering-procurement-construction contractor Advanced Production and Loading AS will begin construction of the terminal in August 116 miles offshore of Louisiana. The $60-million facility will have 500-million-cu-ft-per-day capacity and is scheduled to begin receiving regasified LNG in January 2005.


The project incorporates an innovative design patented by El Paso Global Energy, Houston, called the EP Energy Bridge (ENR 1/27/03 p. 16). Under this concept, a custom-built LNG tanker pulls a pipeline riser attached to a docking buoy now being fabricated in Sweden into a docking compartment (see illustration, p. 29). Super-cold LNG is regasified onboard the tanker and flows through the riser into a 20-in. pipeline on the ocean floor. Only eight miles of pipe will be laid for this project. It will interconnect with existing submarine pipelines for delivery to the national onshore pipeline grid.

The technologies used in this system are not new, but the way they are combined is, says Kathleen Eisbrenner, president of Excelerate Energy LLC, The Woodlands, Texas, the project’s owner. Energy Bridge is the only concept that places the LNG vaporizers onboard the tankers, and the docking buoy uses APL’s proprietary Submerged Turret Loading system, which has been installed at seven oilfields in the North Sea for petroleum loading. This will be its first use for regasified LNG.

Creativity Shapes Offshore Terminals
Offshore LNG Terminals (Data)

Excelerate also is talking with public officials about building its second Energy Bridge system off Gloucester, Mass. The Northeast Gateway project would have a 400-million-cfd capacity and is expected to be in service by the end of 2006. Its estimated $200-million cost is higher than the Energy Bridge in the Gulf because "we will install a dual buoy system to allow for continuous flow of gas, plus peaking service," says Eisbrenner. Click here to view graphics

The Massachusetts project also would require more pipe, "and that is substantially more expensive in the Northeast than in the Gulf," says Eisbrenner. The pipe will have to be buried and covered, unlike the Gulf, she says. The owner has not yet awarded any engineering or construction contracts.

Excelerate has plans for even more terminals. It has ordered three custom-built tankers from Korean shipyards and has an option on a fourth, says Eisbrenner. Each ship takes 26 to 28 months to build and the vaporization and docking equipment adds $25 million to $30 million to the $170-million basic ship.

The U.S. is in dire need of new sources of natural gas and will need many more import terminals to help meet soaring demand for the clean-burning fuel. The 1998-2002 powerplant construction boom, which consisted almost entirely of...

istory may be made in January when the world’s first offshore liquefied natural gas receiving terminal and the first new deepwater terminal in the U.S. in nearly 30 years is scheduled to receive its first delivery. Construction of the would-be history-maker will put to rest fierce opposition to basing such facilities on land because of safety and security issues and help the U.S. fill a natural gas shortage by supplementing domestic supplies with imports.