The US southeast’s LNG hub is preparing to serve new dual-fuel oceangoing ships and meet energy demands of both US and international LNG customers
Already home to two small-scale liquefaction plants and an LNG bunkering station, Jacksonville, Florida could be adding a third LNG facility in the near future.
In January, Houston-based Eagle LNG selected Oklahoma-based Matrix Service Inc for the engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction of its new US$542M small-scale LNG export facility in Jacksonville, Florida. A FID on the new facility has not yet been taken.
In 2019, Eagle LNG’s Jacksonville LNG Export Facility won major US government regulatory approvals, receiving authorisation for construction from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and approval for LNG export from the US Department of Energy (DOE).
With a capacity of 1 mta of LNG, Eagle LNG’s new Jacksonville LNG Export Facility will have three small-scale trains, each with a 0.33 mta capacity. Located on the north bank of the St Johns River, the facility would load LNG onto small, oceangoing vessels for export to Caribbean countries currently using heavy fuel oil (HFO) or diesel for power generation.
Chart Industries will supply its Integrated Pre-cooled Single Mixed Refrigerant (IPSMR) technology and liquefaction equipment technology will be used by the export facility to produce 6.25M litres of LNG per day.
LNG will be transported by land and sea. An onsite storage tank would have a capacity of 45,000 m3, and marine facilities would have two loading arms capable of docking and mooring small- and mid-scale LNG carriers or LNG bunkering vessels, with capacities between 2,000 and 45,000 m3. An LNG shipping partner has not been selected as yet, although several operators are anxious to take part, according to an Eagle LNG spokesperson.
Additionally, Eagle LNG would load a portion of the LNG produced at the terminal onto tanker trucks for road distribution to refueling stations in Florida and Georgia.
While no agreements have been announced for the transportation of LNG in trucks, Eagle LNG anticipates it would load 260 to 520 LNG trucks, each with a 45,000-litre capacity, per year at the terminal.
“Eagle LNG is experiencing a growing demand for LNG to serve small-scale export markets, while domestic demand for fuel-grade LNG continues to increase," says Eagle LNG chief executive Dick Brown. "We continue to build out LNG infrastructure across the country to meet these needs.”
Eagle LNG Partners is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferus Natural Gas Fuels LP and privately held by Houston investment firm The Energy and Minerals Group.
Besides the Jacksonville LNG Export Facility, Eagle LNG’s investment in Jacksonville includes its Maxville LNG Facility and the Talleyrand LNG Bunker Station at the Port of Jacksonville (Jaxport). The port is home to privately held shipping company Crowley Maritime’s two dual-fuel 2,400-teu container roll-on/roll-off (conro) vessels Taíno and El Coquí that operate to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Both are refuelled by Eagle LNG’s Talleyrand LNG Bunker Station, which has storage capacity of 1.9M litres of LNG. The facility’s design capacity flow rate of 10,000 litres per minute is sufficient to fuel each of Crowley’s vessels in less than eight hours. Crowley’s conro vessels are fueled via a Mobile Transfer Unit, allowing simultaneous operations (simops), including gantry crane operation and container movement forward and roro aft of accommodation.
The Talleyrand LNG Bunker Station is routinely filled via truck from Eagle LNG’s Maxville LNG Facility. Maxville LNG has a storage capacity of 3.8M litres of LNG and production capacity of 757,000 litres per day, exceeding the refuelling needs of Crowley, making LNG available for sale in standard ISO containers to southeast US and Caribbean island customers. Crowley began shipping ISO tank containers of LNG to customers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in March 2018. Crowley’s Carib Energy has a 25-year license from the US DOE for the export of up to 530M litres of LNG annually to all Free Trade Agreement (FTA) nations and 647M litres of LNG annually to non-FTA nations.
New ATB for JAX LNG
Jacksonville is also home to JAX LNG, which opened in May as the first small-scale LNG facility in the US with both marine- and tanker truck-loading capabilities. A joint venture between Pivotal LNG and NorthStar Midstream, JAX LNG has the capacity to produce 454,250 litres of LNG per day and store more than 7.6M litres of LNG.
Future growth could expand the facility with two more trains and a second storage tank; this would increase LNG production capacity to 2.3M litres per day and store up to 15.1M litres.
Long-term LNG supplier of Tote Maritime Puerto Rico’s dual-fuel container ships Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe, JAX LNG loads the inland LNG bunker barge Clean Jacksonville for vessel refuelling operations. With a capacity of 2,200 m3, Clean Jacksonville conducted the first ship-to-ship (STS) LNG bunkering operations in the US.
Starting in 2021, NorthStar Midstream’s marine transportation company Polaris New Energy will begin operating an LNG bunker and transport articulated tug barge (ATB). A 5,400-m3 bunker barge is under construction at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
First cargo from Elba Island LNG
Being developed at a cost of US$2Bn, Elba Island LNG export terminal became the sixth US LNG export terminal to begin operation since 2016 when the first of its 10 trains was placed into commercial service in October. FERC approved initial operations of its fourth train at the end of December. The expectations are that all 10 of Elba Island LNG’s trains will be in service by the end of H1 2020, with commissioning of each train sequentially in one-month intervals.
The first commercial cargo was loaded onto the 159,892-m3 LNG carrier Maran Gas Lindos, owned by Maran Gas Maritime, in December bound for Pakistan.
Elba Island LNG is the smallest of the US LNG export facilities, with a total capacity of 0.3Bn ft3 per day (Bcf/d) across 10 portable small-scale trains, each with a capacity of 0.03 Bcf/d. The trains are based on a new technology called a Moveable Modular Liquefaction System (MMLS), which was developed by Royal Dutch Shell.
Located near Savannah, Georgia, Elba Island LNG export terminal is on the site of an existing regasification terminal, which allows the new liquefaction facility to share LNG storage tanks, pipelines and other infrastructure with the regasification terminal. Elba Island has five LNG storage tanks with a total capacity of 535,000 m3.
Under full development, the Elba Island Liquefaction facility is expected to have a total capacity of approximately 2.5 mta of LNG for export.
Developers of the Elba Island LNG Export Terminal are The Elba Liquefaction Company, LLC, a joint venture between publicly traded Kinder Morgan and EIG Global Energy Partners (EIG), and Southern LNG Company. The Elba Liquefaction Company will own the liquefaction units and other ancillary equipment. Certain other facilities associated with the project are 100% owned by KMI.
Elba Island will operate as a tolling facility where LNG off-takers will pay a liquefaction tolling fee to the project owners. The export capacity of Elba Island is fully contracted by Royal Dutch Shell under a 20-year tolling agreement. Shell is responsible for procuring its own natural gas feedstock for liquefaction and LNG marketing. According to Shell, natural gas liquefied at Elba Island will be exported to the global LNG spot markets.
A new 4,000-m3 LNG bunker and transport ATB nearing completion at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi, will load LNG at the facility, serving Carnival Cruise’s new LNG-fuelled cruise ships and two dual-fuel pure car truck carriers owned by Siem Car Carrier. Under long-term charter to Shell, the first-of-its-kind ATB is owned by Shane Guidry’s Q-LNG Transport.