DOE reviews compressed gas export project for Bahamas power plant

The U.S. Department of Energy on Feb. 12 released a draft environmental assessment on a compressed natural gas export project in Florida of Emera CNG LLC.

In November 2013, Emera CNG filed an application with DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act seeking long-term authorization to export compressed natural gas (CNG). The construction and operation of the Emera facility is a connected action to Emera’s application to export CNG.

Emera’s CNG plant would include facilities to receive, dehydrate, and compress gas to fill pressure vessels with an open International Organization for Standardization (ISO) container frame mounted on trailers. Emera plans to truck the trailers a distance of one quarter mile from its proposed CNG facility to a berth at the Port of Palm Beach, where the trailers would be loaded onto a roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ocean going carrier. Emera plans to receive natural gas at its planned compression facility from the Riviera Lateral, a pipeline owned and operated by Peninsula Pipeline Co. Although this would be the principal source of natural gas to Emera’s CNG facility for export, during periods of maintenance at Emera’s facility, or at the Port of Palm Beach, Emera may obtain CNG from other sources and/or export CNG from other general-use Florida port facilities.

The proposed Emera facility would initially be capable of loading 8 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) of CNG into tank tank containers and, after full build-out, would be capable to load up to 25 MMscfd. For the initial phase of the project, Emera intends to send these CNG tank containers from Florida to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, where the trailers would be unloaded from the ship, and the CNG decompressed and injected into a pipeline for transport to electric generation plants owned and operated by Grand Bahama Power Co. (GBPC), an Emera affiliate. GBPC’s power plants currently are fueled with heavy fuel oil. Emera expects this diversification of fuel sources, after they are retrofitted to burn natural gas, would stabilize and possibly reduce customer electricity rates and stimulate economic growth in the Bahamas. After modifications, the power plant will be considered a flex-fuel plant capable of utilizing both natural gas and petroleum as fuel sources.

It is envisioned that the proposed CNG facility would be completed in phases. The initial phase would allow compression of approximately 8 MMscfd of CNG to serve Emera’s initial market on Grand Bahama Island. Completion of an additional phase (which will be contingent on finding suitable markets, available gas supply, and lease space at the Port of Palm Beach) could bring the total capacity of the CNG facility to an average of 25 MMscfd.

Transit time from the Port of Palm Beach to Freeport Harbour, a distance of 75 nautical miles, would take eight hours each direction. What with the loading and unloading of traliers on either end, the total gas delivery cycle time is approximately 24 hours per round trip. The annual volume of gas transmitted would be up to 2,920 MMscf (up to 8MMscfd in the initial phase).

Peninsula Pipeline, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities Corp., is in the final stage of purchasing the existing 12-mile, 8-inch steel Riviera Lateral that terminates at the Port of Palm Beach from Florida Gas Transmission (FGT). It would convert the existing Riviera Beach lateral pipeline from a FERC-regulated interstate pipeline to a state regulated intrastate pipeline. Peninsula Pipeline proposes to construct and operate all gas distribution components required to provide service from the intrastate pipeline to Emera’s facility at the Port of Palm Beach.

The Grand Bahama Power website said the company owns and operates over 100 MW of generation. Its power is generated by nine generation units, including two slow-speed diesel engine-driven generators and seven medium-speed diesel generators.

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.