Ocean Cay LNG Terminal and Pipeline, Bahamas


AES Ocean LNG, a unit of AES Corporation, is planning to construct a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal on Ocean Cay near Bimini in the Bahamas. The proposed facility will be located on the south side of Ocean Cay, a 95 acre man-made island. The initial send-out capacity of the terminal will be 1.2bn ft³/d (bcf/d).

The project was proposed to fulfil the growing demand for natural gas in Florida. The demand is expected to increase to 4.54bcf/d by 2020, which cannot be fulfilled by the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure in the state.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) statement for the project was submitted to the Bahamian government in September 2002 and was approved in October 2003. AES expected to receive the final approval for the project in 2008 and planned its construction in 2009. The terminal is expected to commence deliveries in the first quarter of 2012.

Final approval by the Bahamian government has, however, been delayed repeatedly due to opposition from local environmental groups.

In August 2009, AES announced its decision to sell the site of the proposed terminal on lease to a Bahamian-incorporated company. The decision was taken following the delays in obtaining approval. AES, however, has not abandoned its plans to build the terminal. It has retained an option to re-lease part of the site if the project is approved.

"An LPG removal facility will be built to process the liquefied natural gas from the LNG tanks."

Infrastructure

The project includes construction of an LNG terminal featuring berthing facilities to receive LNG from tankers. The terminal will be capable of accommodating 140,000m³ LNG carriers. Two 160,000m³ LNG storage tanks will be constructed. The tanks will include compressor equipment.

A liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal including berthing facilities will be constructed to load ships for transport to customers.

The terminal will be capable of accommodating 80,000m³ LPG carriers. A 40,000m³ tank will also be constructed to store LPG before shipment.

An LPG removal facility will be built to process the liquefied natural gas from the LNG tanks. It will separate propane, butane and other gases from the LNG and transport them to the LPG tank for storage.

The LNG processed by the plant will then be transported to the regasification and sendout system. The system will include a compressor building, a leak detection system and an administration building.

Three 15MW natural gas-fired turbine generators will be set up at the site to generate power for the facilities of the project. A desalination plant with a capacity of 50,000gpd will be built at the site to supply water to the plant.

Pipeline route

AES is planning to build a natural gas pipeline called the Ocean Cay Pipeline from the terminal to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) boundary between the Bahamas and the US.

The 94-mile, 26in-diameter, undersea pipeline will have a capacity of 840mmcfd. It will have delivery locations in Broward County, Florida.

Ocean Cay site

Ocean Cay island lies 65 miles east of Miami, Florida and was constructed in 1970. The island features a shipping channel, deep port facilities and a ship turning basin. It also includes a small harbour and mining support facilities.

"Ocean Cay island lies 65 miles east of Miami, Florida."

The location was chosen as it is convenient for the transport of natural gas to the South Florida market. Further, the island did not have any permanent residents and was located away from populated areas. The location was also in compliance with the new US Coast Guard exclusion zone requirements.

Contractors

DHI Group carried out numerical wave modelling and morphological modelling for the project. The modelling was of the stability of gravel beaches in the Bahamas and was carried out between 2003 and 2005.