Hoegh LNG to Detail Florida Port Plans This Week
by Sara Kennedy The Bradenton Herald, Fla.
July 23, 2007
Details of a Norwegian company's proposal for a $1 billion deep-sea natural gas port in the Gulf of Mexico will be revealed at an open house and public meeting Wednesday.
Port Dolphin Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Hoegh LNG based in Oslo, is proposing the port, which would convert liquid fuel to gas aboard tankers through heating. The gas would then be sent to shore through a 42-mile underwater pipeline.
The pipeline would connect at Port Manatee, Fla., with those of Gulfsteam Natural Gas System and Tampa Electric Co.
The project involves a system of submersible, permanently moored buoys 28 miles off the coast southwest of Tampa Bay in a water depth of 100 feet.
The cost would be near $1 billion, according to German Castro, project development manager for the Port Dolphin Liquified Natural Gas Deepwater Port. There is only one other similar project by Hoegh in Massachusetts, he said.
The public meeting Wednesday is designed to gather comments for an environmental review of the project by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration. The environmental review will help regulators evaluate the license application, officials said.
Before the project can be built, it must win approval from the two agencies. Construction, which would begin on the buoy system in 2010, would take about 22 months.
The Port Authority of Manatee has not taken any position on the project yet because it is still in the early stages and has not yet been presented to port authority officials, said Jill VanderPol, communications manager for the port.
"We're just not far enough along to say anything beyond we're in discussions with them," she added.
"It is a proposal that needs a good, hard look for safety reasons," said Joan Perry, Manasota88 board member Friday. She said the group expects to have a representative at Wednesday's meeting.
Gulfstream Natural Gas System is hoping to extend a natural gas pipeline beneath Tampa Bay 17.5 miles from Port Manatee to Pinellas County.
"We would go strictly as an interested party learning about the facility because it does have an effect on us, but again, it's not our project," said Chris Stockton, a Gulfsteam spokesman.
Hoegh currently operates a fleet of six tankers. In the past five years, the company has focused efforts on developing and promoting floating regasification terminals, according to a oil and gas industry Web site.
The meeting will begin with an open house from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a public meeting from 6-8 p.m., officials said. It will take place at the Manatee Convention Center, One Haben Blvd., Palmetto.
Copyright (c) 2007, The Bradenton Herald, Fla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Port Dolphin Project
Port Dolphin Energy LLC (subsidiary of Hoegh LNG AS)
offshore Tampa Bay, FL United States