US: World's first offshore LNG terminal in operation
11 Apr 2005
Advanced Production and Loading's (APL) client and partner Excelerate Energy inaugurated the Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge Terminal in an official ceremony in the Woodlands, Texas this week.
APL's STL system is a key component in this world's first offshore Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal. The LNG cargo has now been discharged and the commissioning successfully completed at the terminal located 116 miles offshore the Louisiana coast (USA). Gulf Gateway is the first new LNG terminal installed in the US for more than 20 years.
"The US demand for natural gas is expected to increase considerably in the coming years. The Energy Bridge terminal is based on our proven STL technology. This first terminal employs a single STL Buoy.
The project has been followed closely by the energy industry and we believe the system and the flexibility is very applicable, both in the USA and elsewhere", said Carl K. Arnet, CEO of APL.
The terminal is based on APL's Submerged Turret Loading (STL) system. The first STL project was installed in connection with a permanent floating storage and offloading vessel (FSO) at the Fulmar field in 1993. The next STL project was an offshore loading terminal at the Heidrun field in 1994. This terminal has since been in operation more than 99.9% of the time. The LNG terminal, Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge, which APL has developed for Excelerate Energy, is an adapted version of a standard STL system.
The LNG regasification vessel Excelsior (LNGRV), which was built for Exmar Shipping at the Daewoo shipyard in South Korea and contracted by Excelerate Energy, was the first ship to discharge at the terminal. The ship arrived from the shipyard in South Korea by way of Malaysia, where LNG was loaded. The STL system and Energy Bridge operates as follows: The STL buoy is anchored at the field offshore and floats submerged at a depth of approximately 30 meters, connected to a pipeline at the sea bed by a flexible riser. When ready to discharge, the ship connects to the terminal by pulling the STL buoy into the STL compartment of the ship, where it is connected to the STL vessel system. The LNG is regasified onboard the vessel and passes through the STL system to the gas pipeline at the sea bed and further on to market.
APL's share of the project includes provision of STL system and offshore installation at field and has a contract value of approx. $ 31.5 million.
In most US states, communities are concerned with the safety issues surrounding land based LNG terminals, while concurrently, the demand for natural gas continues to increase.
Offshore terminals like Energy Bridge with the STL system as a key component, address the environmental concerns, while simultaneously serving to meet the growing demand for natural gas. "The Energy Bridge project was carried out on time and on budget. The project has already received acclamation, and we regard this as a breakthrough in a new and exciting market", says Jens P. Kaalstad, President of APL Inc. in Houston.
In December 2004, APL received the Offshore Energy Achievement Award in Emerging Innovation/Technology, a.k.a. the "Oscars of the Oil Industry", for the STL system for Regas LNG Terminal.