New Offshore LNG Project on Horizon

By Published On: March 16, 2007

A Texas oil and gas company hopes to build a novel liquefied natural gas facility off the coast of Long Beach that aims to minimize impacts to marine and air resources. Tidelands Oil & Gas subsidiary Esperanza Energy outlined its twin platform project slated for 15 miles offshore to the multi-agency LNG Group March 15. “Energy project development can be accomplished in a manner consistent with California’s high environmental quality and public safety project requirements,” said David Maul, Esperanza project manager. “It looks like one of the best LNG projects yet,” said V. John White, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director. The project proposes warming up 1.2 billion cubic feet a day of chilled, condensed liquefied natural gas with warmed wastewater expelled from onshore power plants near the Port of Long Beach. The heated water would be transported via an insulated pipeline to the floating terminal. Using existing warm water to thaw the fuel would help avoid marine impacts caused when more traditional liquefied natural gas projects intake seawater and expel it at a much colder temperature. It also would avoid emissions created by burning liquefied natural gas to warm up frozen fuel. For instance, the Sempra LNG plant under construction in Baja California plans to use ocean water to warm up the fuel. The potential environmental impacts from that have generated opposition. Under the proposed open-access plan, Esperanza would have an open season for signing up capacity. The Esperanza project would not supply imported gas. Access to the regasification terminal and pipeline would be open to electric and gas utilities, liquefied natural gas suppliers, independent power generators, and gas marketers. “The public will want to know the source of the gas, and we’ll provide that information on possible sources, but it has not been determined yet,” Maul said. Alison Dettmer, California Coastal Commission analyst and member of the LNG Group, declined to give an opinion on the proposal. “These projects are so complicated and we don’t know anything about these projects until we see the details,” she said. “It would be irresponsible to comment and prejudice the project.” In addition to the Coastal Commission staff, the LNG Group includes staff from state and federal agencies involved in liquefied natural gas projects, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State Lands Commission, who meet to coordinate their LNG priorities and activities. The California Energy Commission is the group facilitator. Maul said the project developers met with federal and state regulators last year to get input on key environmental and safety concerns. “We are now anxious to start a more public dialogue to see if we can further improve the project,” he added. Esperanza plans to jointly file applications with the U.S. Coast Guard and applicable state agencies by the end of this year.

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