The regulatory process for a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) terminal project by New Fortress Energy Inc. (NFE) offshore Louisiana has begun, kicking off what the company intends to be a start-up sprint .
The Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard said in the Federal Register that they found that NFE’s application for authorization of the deep water FLNG installation was sufficient. An Environmental Impact Statement must now be prepared, with public comments pending (No. MARAD-2022-0076).
CEO Wes Edens said the announcement was a “significant step forward” in efforts to build what he called the nation’s first “fast” LNG facility. The project could begin operations early next year. FAST LNG has been described by NFE as a way to deploy an LNG terminal faster and at lower cost than traditional FLNG technology, which uses larger trains on new or converted vessels.
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“With rapid deployment, this project can help solve the energy crisis in Europe and support our efforts to reduce energy poverty by providing more affordable, reliable and cleaner fuel to our growing portfolio of customers,” said Edens.
According to the application filed in late March, the facility could export up to 2.8 million metric tonnes/year (mmty), or approximately 145 Bcf/year, of LNG. The project is designed to be supplied by an existing pipeline operated by Kinetica Partners LLC that extends into the western delta region of the Gulf of Mexico.
Using designs used for small-scale LNG projects in Southeast Asia, NFE proposed to retrofit two jack-up oil rigs with modular liquefaction trains. Each train would have a capacity of 1.4 mmty.
Limited notice to proceed was given last year to Fluor Corp., Chart Industries Inc. and Baker Hughes Co.
Under the Deep Water Ports Act 1974, the project could go to a public hearing within the next 240 days and a decision on the application within 90 days of the hearing. NFE management said the company expects the process to take about 356 days.
The Louisiana offshore project could be the first FLNG facility to achieve ramp-up in the US offshore. Delfin Midstream is working on a large scale 3.5mmty project off Louisiana which has been repeatedly delayed.
NFE also operates regasification terminals and natural gas power plants for which it purchases LNG in the Caribbean and South America. It has similar projects under development in Europe and Asia. In addition to tolling agreements with buyers, it said its Fast LNG facilities could also be used to service its portfolio.