Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority plans oil-to-gas conversion

Aguirre Offshore GasPort LLC, a subsidiary of Excelerate Energy LP, is pursuing approval at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import project in Puerto Rico that will support a major power plant refueling project.

The company, under an April 17 application filed at FERC, plans to construct and operate the Aguirre Offshore GasPort Project, an LNG terminal located about 6 kilometers offshore. This facility would receive and store LNG, regasify the LNG, and deliver a supply of natural gas to the Puerto Rico Power Authority’s (PREPA) Aguirre Plant.

The LNG project will utilize Excelerate Energy’s Energy Bridge technology, and will consist of facilities to receive, temporarily store, vaporize, and deliver up to 650 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscf/d) of natural gas. LNG will be delivered to the project via LNG carriers (LNGCs), unloaded and stored within a docked floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), regasified on the FSRU, and delivered directly to the Aguirre power plant via a subsea pipeline.

PREPA’s power generation has been largely captive to expensive imported oil and this project is an effort to bring in natural gas to provide at least some generation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in Nov. 5 comments filed at FERC as part of the LNG terminal project, asked for more data on the related Aguirre power plant repowering. It noted that the existing power complex consists of 12 oil-fired units with a total capacity of 1,540 MW. These units currently burn No. 6 and No. 2 fuel oil. The units are:

  • The Steam Power Plant – consisting of two oil-fired steam boilers (AG1 and AG2) with a total capacity of 900 MW.
  • The Combined-Cycle Power Plant (CCI and CC2) – consisting of eight oil-fired combustion turbines with two steam generators with a total capacity of 600 MW. Each combined-cycle plant consists of four turbines, one steam generator and one steam turbine.
  • The Power Block – consisting of two oil-fired combustion turbines with a total capacity of 40 MW.

PREPA is proposing to convert only the two steam boilers and the combined-cycle plant (eight turbines) to burn natural gas. The combined-cycle units have operated at relatively low annual capacity factors (ACFs), averaging 8% during the baseline period of July 2009-June 2011, EPA noted. The two boilers (AG1 and AG2) operated at an annual capacity factor of 64% during the same period. According to PREPA, these are the typical ACFs for these units. After the natural gas conversion, PREPA proposes to limit the ACF for the boilers to 55% and for the combined-cycle units to up to 35%.

On Dec. 17, PREPA filed at FERC a copy of a Dec. 2 letter it sent to EPA responding to the questions about the project. Among other things, PREPA said the contracts with Excelerate had not been signed yet, with those signings expected to occur in January 2014.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.