Investment continues to flow into small-scale LNG in the US and Canada, supporting shipping’s path to decarbonisation
Virginia-based utility company Dominion Energy has expanded its LNG holdings even as the company’s home state pushes for 100% electricity to be produced from renewable sources by 2045. Dominion Energy acquired small-scale producer Pivotal LNG from Atlanta-based utility company Southern Company for a reported US$175M.
Among Pivotal LNG’s assets acquired by Dominion Energy are the Trussville LNG plant in Trussville, Alabama, and a 50% ownership in JAX LNG facility in Jacksonville, Florida.
A 50-50 partnership between Pivotal LNG and Houston-based NorthStar Midstream LLC, JAX LNG was dedicated in 2019. Capable of loading both vessels and tanker trucks, JAX LNG supplies LNG for TOTE Maritime’s two dual-fuelled, 3,100-teu container ships, Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe. Operating in Jones Act trade between Jacksonville and San Juan, Puerto Rico, the two containerships are refuelled by the specially built LNG bunker barge Clean Jacksonville.
Dominion Energy also owns the Cove Point LNG facility in Lusby, Maryland, which began exporting LNG in 2018 to Japan and India, and has a nameplate capacity of 5.25 mta.
“The acquisition of Pivotal LNG will play an important role in our broader strategy to help decarbonise the marine shipping industry,” said Dominion Energy vice president of gas development services Roger Williams. Mr Williams said the acquisition “positions us well to lead the transformation of the marine industry and to serve other growing LNG markets along the east coast.”
“Ironically, the acquisition comes after the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act”
Ironically, the acquisition comes after the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act by the state’s lawmakers in March. The legislation mandates that 100% of Virginia’s electricity will be generated from renewable sources, phasing out fossil-fuel-burning power plants, such as coal and LNG, and spurring on Virginia’s efforts to develop offshore wind and solar projects.
The acquisition by Dominion Energy is part of a steady flow of investment into small-scale LNG projects in the US and Canada.
JAX LNG’s neighbour, Eagle LNG, has received federal approval for the Eagle LNG Jacksonville Export Facility, and selected Oklahoma-based Matrix Service for the engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction of its new US$542M small-scale LNG facility. If it should move forward, the Eagle LNG Jacksonville facility would be able to load LNG onto tanker trucks, bunker vessels and 45,000-m3 LNG carriers for export to the Caribbean. A FID has not yet been taken for the new export project.
Expansion on the west coast
Meanwhile, on the Canadian west coast, FortisBC Holdings Inc has filed documents with government regulators outlining its expansion plans for its small-scale Tilbury LNG facility in British Columbia.
In its filings for the Tilbury Phase 2 LNG Expansion Project, FortisBC is considering building a new storage tank with a capacity of 162,000 m3 that would treble the site’s storage capacity and add liquefaction equipment to produce 3.5 mta of LNG for vessel bunkering or bulk export by ship. If approved, construction on the expansion could start as early as 2022 and be completed by 2028.
Besides the Tilbury LNG project expansion, FortisBC’s capital investment plans include the proposed Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline that would support the Woodfibre LNG project, near Squamish, British Columbia. Developer Woodfibre LNG Ltd has delayed the start of construction of the Woodfibre LNG facility until 2021. If both FortisBC projects move forward, they would represent an investment of US$700M.
With a liquefaction capacity of 250,000 tonnes of LNG per year, Tilbury LNG facility already supplies LNG to Canadian ferry operators Seaspan Ferries and BC Ferries.
In July, FortisBC struck a two-year deal with Top Speed Energy Corp to export 53,000 tonnes of LNG a year, or about 60 ISO containers a week, to China starting by 2021. FortisBC has been exporting LNG in ISO containers to China on the spot market since 2017.
Dominion Energy’s small-scale LNG acquisitions
JAX LNG (50% stake)
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Storage: 7.6M litres
Production: 454,000 litres/day
Location: Trussville, Alabama
Storage: 18.2M litres
Production: 227,000 litres/day