The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 21 approved applications for both the expansion of the Golden Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Texas and the gas pipeline needed to provide feedstock for this operation.
In July 2014, Golden Pass Products LLC applied for this approval to site, construct, and operate facilities for the export of LNG at the existing LNG import terminal owned and operated by Golden Pass LNG Terminal LLC in the vicinity of Sabine Pass, Texas.
On the same day, Golden Pass Pipeline LLC applied for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate compression and looping facilities in Texas and Louisiana. This project will make Golden Pass Pipeline’s existing pipeline facilities bi-directional and enable it to transport up to 2.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of domestically-sourced natural gas to the Export Terminal Project for liquefaction and export.
Said the Dec. 21 FERC order: “For the reasons discussed in this order, we will authorize Golden Pass Products’ proposal under section 3 to construct and operate the Export Terminal Project. We will also authorize Golden Pass Pipeline’s proposal under section 7(c) to construct and operate the Pipeline Expansion Project.”
Golden Pass Products is owned by QTL U.S. Terminal LLC, an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum International Ltd. (QPI), and Golden Pass LNG Terminal Investments LLC, an affiliate of Exxon Mobil Corp.
Golden Pass Pipeline is owned by QTL U.S. Terminal, Golden Pass LNG Pipeline Investments LLC and ConocoPhillips Co.
In 2005, the commission authorized Golden Pass LNG to construct and operate an LNG import terminal near Sabine Pass, Texas, which includes: a berthing structure and unloading facilities for LNG ships; five LNG storage tanks, each with an approximate working capacity of 155,000 cubic meters; and associated infrastructure and facilities required to transport natural gas from the import terminal. Golden Pass Products said that due to changed market conditions, the terminal has not received imports since 2011.
In the same order, the commission authorized Golden Pass Pipeline to construct a pipeline system to transport up to 2.5 Bcf/d of re-vaporized natural gas from the tailgate of the terminal to interconnections with several intrastate and interstate pipelines. This interstate pipeline is the only pipeline connected to the terminal.
The new Export Terminal Project would be constructed and operated by Golden Pass Products, and integrated with the existing import terminal onshore at the Sabine-Neches Waterway, on the existing Port Arthur Ship Channel, in the vicinity of Sabine Pass in Jefferson County, Texas. Golden Pass Products stated that the project will expand the capabilities of the existing terminal to enable the export of natural gas, while maintaining LNG import capability.
The Export Terminal Project would include three liquefaction trains with a total production capacity sufficient to produce 15.6 million (metric) tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG, each train producing 5.2 MTPA. Golden Pass Products also plans to construct and operate:
- feed gas treatment facilities consisting of a mercury removal system, amine system, and heavy hydrocarbon removal system; and
- a 200 MW-250 MW gas-fired plant to power the liquefaction trains and other terminal operations.
Golden Pass Products proposes to use the existing storage tanks, berths, and other related facilities at the import terminal. Certain modifications would be made to the existing import facilities, including modifications to enable segregation of regasification facilities from the liquefaction facilities, and construction of a new central control room.
Golden Pass Products received authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy in September 2012 to export annually up to 740 Bcf equivalent (15.6 MPTA) of natural gas in the form of LNG to countries with which the United States has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In addition, Golden Pass Products currently has pending before DOE an application to export LNG to other nations with which the U.S. permits such trade, but has not entered into an FTA providing for the national treatment of trade in natural gas (NFTA countries).
In conjunction with the Export Terminal Project, Golden Pass Pipeline seeks to expand its current pipeline system to transport up to 2.5 Bcf/d of domestically-sourced natural gas southward to the LNG terminal for liquefaction and export. Specifically, Golden Pass Pipeline proposes to construct:
- Mile Post (MP) 1 Compressor Station, consisting of two 5,583 hp electric compressors, to be located near the interconnection with Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America’s (Natural) pipeline system in Jefferson County, Texas;
- MP 33 Compressor Station, consisting of two 8,997 hp gas-fired compressors, to be located near the interconnection with AEP Texoma’s pipeline system in Orange County, Texas;
- MP 66 Compressor Station, consisting of five 15,128 hp and two 8,475 hp gas-fired compressors, to be located near the interconnection with the Texas Eastern Transmission LP (TETCO) pipeline system in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; and
- approximately three miles of new 24-inch diameter pipeline loop (Calcasieu Loop), parallel and adjacent to the Golden Pass Pipeline mainline, installed between surface facilities operated by TETCO and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC (Tennessee) between MP 63 and MP 66 in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
Golden Pass Pipeline will also make modifications and upgrades to five existing delivery point interconnections to provide for bi-directional transportation services. The estimated total cost of the project is approximately $383 million.
Golden Pass Pipeline held a binding open season in June 2014 for the proposed expansion capacity. Golden Pass Pipeline stated that it indicated in the open season that it had signed a letter of intent with ExxonMobil Titan Gas Supply LLC (Titan) to subscribe 2.4 Bcf/d of firm transportation capacity and that the letter of intent would constitute a binding bid in the open season. Based upon that level of commitment, Golden Pass Pipeline provided Titan the status of an “Anchor Shipper.” No other party submitted a bid in the open season and, ultimately, Titan, agreed to subscribe to the full 2.5 Bcf/d of incremental capacity for a term of 25 years at Golden Pass Pipeline’s recourse rates.