On April 10th, Dominion Energy Inc. announced that its Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Lusby, MD began full commercial operations. The plant, initially an LNG-receiving terminal since the 1970’s but largely idle in 2014, was converted to an import-export facility, with its first cargo shipped out in early March of this year.
The $4 billion Cove Point plant can liquefy up to 770 million cubic feet per day (mmcf/d) of natural gas. The facility has two 20-year customer contracts with ST Cove Point (a joint venture of Sumitomo Corp and Tokyo Gas) and Gail Global (USA) LNG (the US affiliate of GAIL (India) Ltd). Customers must procure their own gas and pipeline transportation. ST Cove Point has a 20-year deal to receive up to 338 mmcf/d from Cabot Oil and Gas and 415 mmcf/d capacity along the Cove Point pipeline, which connects with Transcontinental, Columbia gas, and Dominion Transmission interstate pipeline systems. Gail Global has a 20-year deal to procure up to 415 mmdf/d from WGL Midstream. They have relinquished its 20-year contract for 407 mmcf/d of transportation capacity on the Cove Point pipeline to WGL.
The first US LNG terminal was located in Kenai Alaska in the late 1960’s, exporting LNG regularly to Japan until 2011. Sporadic shipments were made before closing in 2015. Conoco-Phillips recently sold the facility to Andeavor, who has a refinery in Kenai as well.
Cheniere’s Sabin Pass LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, LA began exporting in February, 2016, with four natural gas liquefaction units or trains completed. The fifth train is under construction, and once completed, the facility will have be able to process 3.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas. Four additional projects are scheduled to be operational this year or in 2019 for a total LNG production in the US of 9.6 Bcf/d.
- Kinder Morgan’s Elba Island LNG in Georgia has six trains scheduled to come online in the summer of 2018, and four trains to come online by May 2019. Each train will have the capacity to process 0.03 Bcf/d
- Freeport LNG Development L.P.’s Freeport LNG in Texas has 3 trains to be online at 6-month intervals, starting in November 2018. Each train will have a capacity of 0.7 Bcf/d.
- Cheniere’s Corpus Christi facility in Texas has two trains to be online in 2019 with a total capacity of 1.2 Bcf/d.
- Sempra LNG’s Cameron facility in Louisiana is expected to have three trains totaling 1.8 Bcf/d online in 2019.
By the end of the decade, the US LNG export capacity would be in league with Qatar and Australia as one of the biggest shippers of LNG.