Exelon aims for late 2019 startup of LNG export project in Texas

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) project proposed for Texas by Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC), which the company announced on March 11, already has a U.S. Department of Energy export approval.

Annova LNG Common Infrastructure LLC (ACI), Annova LNG Brownsville A LLC, Annova LNG Brownsville B LLC, and Annova LNG Brownsville C LLC applied March 11 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to initiate the commission’s National Environmental Policy Act pre-filing review of Annova’s proposed liquefaction and export facilities for the Annova LNG Brownsville Project.

The project, which will be located on the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, Texas, is being developed for liquefying domestic natural gas for export to foreign markets. The project terminal will include six liquefaction trains each with a firm nameplate capacity of 1.0 million tons per annum (MTPA), for an aggregate firm nameplate capacity of 6.0 MTPA and a maximum output under optimal operating conditions of 6.95 MTPA.

In February 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy authorized Annova LNG LLC, an affiliate of the Annova Entities, to export up to 7.0 MTPA of LNG (approximately 342 billion cubic feet per year [Bcf/yr] of natural gas) to free trade agreement (FTA) nations. In July 2014, the department approved the transfer of that FTA authorization to ACI.

Annova proposes to file its formal application for the project under the Natural Gas Act in the first quarter of 2016. In that application, Annova will request that the commission authorize the project’s siting, construction, and operation by the second quarter of 2017. Annova would then request the commission’s authorization to begin construction during the third quarter of 2017. Commencement of operations is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The terminal will be located at mile marker 8.2 of the Brownsville Ship Channel in Cameron County, Texas. The proposed facility is a greenfield natural gas liquefaction and export facility to be located at the Port of Brownsville.

The onshore facilities constructed for the project will include:

  • Inlet feed gas measurement
  • Feed gas treatment equipment (common to two trains)
  • Gas liquefaction equipment, including: refrigerant compression (one per train), approximately 50 MW electric motor drive, two trains per process block; and refrigerant heat exchanger (one per train)
  • LNG storage loading pumps and loading arms
  • Two 160,000 m3 single containment LNG storage tanks with containment dikes
  • Backup generator
  • 138-kV switchyard

Annova has retained Ecology & Environment Inc. as lead environmental consultant to help develop and prepare the required draft Environmental Resource Reports. Environmental and engineering contractors whose services Annova has enlisted include Black & Veatch for LNG Facility Engineering and Moffatt & Nichol for Marine Engineering.

Exelon Generation is the majority owner of the Annova LNG Brownsville Project. “The project represents a potential opportunity to diversify Exelon’s role in the energy business in an area that shows strong growth potential: natural gas exports,” Exelon Generation President and CEO Ken Cornew said in a March 11 statement. “Exploring LNG exports is a natural evolution of Exelon’s diversification strategy. The U.S. offers some of the most competitive supplies of natural gas in the world, and this project provides Exelon an opportunity to continue the growth of our wholesale gas businesses.”

A decision whether to build the facility is expected by the end of 2017. The March 11 filing at FERC marks the beginning of the projected two-year permitting process. The project requires 26 federal, state and local permits and licenses, including approvals from FERC, DOE, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as various construction-related permits.

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.