Golden Pass LNG Terminal LLC and Golden Pass Pipeline LP are developing a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) receiving terminal located near Sabine Pass, Texas and an associated pipeline connecting to the existing US pipeline infrastructure.
The new terminal will be located ten miles south of Port Arthur and two miles northwest of Sabine Pass, Texas, in an industrial area on the Sabine-Neches waterway, an industrial ship channel. Golden Pass LNG Terminal LLC, the terminal’s owner, is 70% owned by an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum, with ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips affiliates owning the remaining shares.
The Port Arthur area is a good location for an LNG terminal as it is one of only a few deepwater ports along the Gulf Coast suitable for receiving LNG tankers. In addition Sabine Pass also has an existing pipeline infrastructure with access to South East Texas and US markets.
The $1bn Golden Pass LNG project will take three years to build and is scheduled to be operational in 2009. The plant has been designed with the capacity to process 15.6 million metric tons per year of LNG, which is equivalent to approximately two billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.
It is expected that LNG for the new terminal will be supplied primarily from the Ras Laffan 3 and the Qatargas 3 projects in Qatar, which will produce and process natural gas from Qatar’s offshore north field.
Exxon have also asked Port Arthur City Council for an industrial district agreement to include a $16m in lieu of tax agreement to be paid out from 2008 to 2015, stipulating a ‘good faith’ effort to give Port Arthur businesses, contractors and residents opportunity for employment.
DESIGN AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
A National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) pre-filing request was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects in November 2003, which was the first step of the permitting process for the project.
In July / August 2004, the Golden Pass LNG project filed formal applications for the LNG terminal and natural gas pipeline project with the FERC. In June 2005, the staff of the FERC issued the final environmental impact statement for the project.
In July 2006, the FERC approved the Golden Pass LNG project and issued the order granting authorisation under section three of the natural gas policy act and issuing certificates. The Golden Pass LNG terminal has also received all other major federal and state permits.
The terminal will be sited on 900ac on the Sabine-Neches ship channel, across from Pleasure Island. ExxonMobil must dredge a berth in the ship channel as well as build roads across the wetlands to gain access to the new site. The company must also show how it would manage the dredged material and how it would replace wetlands elsewhere.
The plant is expected to permanently employ up to 75 people at all levels including operators, maintenance, managers and administrative personnel. Construction is expected to create some 1,000 temporary jobs in the region.
CONTRACT FOR CONSTRUCTION
In August 2006 Chicago Bridge and Iron Company NV (CB&I) were awarded a lump-sum turnkey contract to build the Golden Pass LNG terminal. The CB&I contract includes the engineering, procurement and construction of LNG production facilities.
The scope of the project includes the construction of two ship-unloading berths, five full containment storage tanks each with a capacity of 155,000m³, vaporisation facilities, gas send-out and ship-unloading systems. CB&I started work in August 2006, doing dredging and berth work, foundations for the tanks and site work.
Construction on the tanks will begin next year. Bo-Mac Contractors will build the road and Fugro Consultants will carry out soil analysis and test pilings for the construction.
GOLDEN PASS PIPELINE
The approved Golden Pass pipeline project will extend approximately 75 miles and cross four counties in Texas and one parish in Louisiana. The pipeline will be connected to 11 interstate and intrastate pipelines.
In addition a short pipeline will tie into the Beaumont industrial area. There are no plans as yet for compressor stations along the route. The Golden Pass Pipeline will be operational in 2008–2009 coinciding with the start-up of the LNG receiving terminal.
In November 2005, Golden Pass Pipeline LP proposed revisions to the pipeline project and commenced a voluntary pre-filing permitting process with FERC. Instead of the two 36in pipelines proposed for the first 43 miles, the revised project proposed a single 42in pipeline. The route has also been shortened by approximately nine miles, however the pipeline capacity is unchanged.