New York governor rejects Port Ambrose LNG import project

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Nov. 12 vetoed the Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port, citing security and economic concerns along with the potential to negatively impact off-shore wind development.

The project, which had been proposed by Liberty Natural Gas LLC, required approval from both Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie under the federal Deepwater Port Act. Cuomo detailed his full position in a letter sent Nov. 12 to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

“My administration carefully reviewed this project from all angles, and we have determined that the security and economic risks far outweigh any potential benefits,” said Cuomo. “Superstorm Sandy taught us how quickly things can go from bad to worse when major infrastructure fails – and the potential for disaster with this project during extreme weather or amid other security risks is simply unacceptable. Port Ambrose would also hinder the local maritime economy in a way that negatively impacts businesses throughout Long Island, and that is simply unacceptable. This is a common-sense decision, because vetoing this project is in the best interests of New Yorkers.”

Cuomo said his review found that the project posed inherent and unanswered security risks to the region. The potential for catastrophic impacts during extreme weather events was also found to be unacceptable. Additionally, the project posed significant disruptions to commercial and recreational maritime activities, and would also have interfered with a critical off-shore wind power project proposed by the New York Power Authority.

Cuomo’s letter to the Maritime Administration said it was unclear whether this facility would be used all the time, or only when gas prices were high, allowing this imported gas to be economic.

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said in the Oct. 16 Federal Register that they were issuing a Final Environmental Impact Statement on this project. The FEIS covers the Liberty Natural Gas LLC license application on the Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port. The Port Ambrose application describes an offshore natural gas deepwater port facility that would be located 16.1 nautical miles southeast of Jones Beach, New York, 24.9 nautical miles east of Long Branch, New Jersey, and 27.1 nautical miles from the entrance to New York Harbor in a water depth of approximately 103 feet.

MARAD must issue a Record of Decision (ROD) to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the deepwater port license application, within 90 days following the final license hearing, on or prior to Feb. 3, 2016.

The Port Ambrose facility will be at a different proposed location and include a different design than the previous deepwater port license application submitted by Liberty Natural Gas in 2010. Port Ambrose would consist of two Submerged Turret Loading Buoys (STL Buoys) in federal waters. LNG would be delivered from purpose-built LNG regasification vessels (LNGRVs), vaporized on site and delivered through the STL Buoys, flexible riser/umbilical, subsea manifold and lateral pipelines to a buried 18.8 nautical mile subsea mainline connecting to the existing Transco Lower New York Bay Lateral in New York State waters 2.2 nautical miles southwest of Long Beach, New York, and 13.1 nautical miles east of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The STL Buoys would be lowered to rest on a landing pad when not in use and would also include a suction anchor mooring array.

The 145,000 cubic meter LNGRVs would have onboard closed-loop vaporization and metering and odorant capability. Each vessel would have three vaporization units capable of maximum send-out of 750 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) (maximum pipeline system flow rate is 660 MMscfd with two buoys) with annual average expected to be 400 MMscfd. The LNGRVs have been designed to use a ballast water cooling system that will entirely re-circulate onboard the vessel during Port operations, eliminating vessel discharges associated with regasification while at the port.

Deliveries through Port Ambrose would be focused during peak demand winter and summer months, and it is anticipated that approximately 45 deliveries will occur each year.

MARAD and USCG said they are aware that Port Ambrose falls within the proposed area of interest for the Long Island—New York City Offshore Wind Collaborative wind energy project. This project has been acknowledged and considered in the cumulative impacts analysis section of the FEIS based on currently available information.

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.