The US Maritime Administration has approved a deepwater LNG port, which will make importing natural gas from fuel tankers, without disruption to shoreline communities and the environment, easier.
El Paso Energy Bridge Gulf of Mexico LLC will build the LNG port, 116 mi south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico. It will be a terminal to process and transfer natural gas received from LNG transport ships to a pipeline system, which will carry the natural gas ashore for distribution to US markets.
"This new facility will improve efficiency by eliminating the need for a carrier to come all the way into a shore side port and save money in the process," Norman Y. Mineta, US Secretary of Transportation, said.
Worldwide, natural gas is in plentiful supply. However, the US holds less than 4% of the world reserves. The Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended in 2002, recognized the need for new LNG import facilities and provided American industry with the option of constructing new LNG port facilities in the waters beyond the territorial limits of the US. The construction and operation of deepwater ports will enhance the options available for the importation of natural gas into the US, thus allowing greater benefits from the economic and environmental advantages of LNG imports.
This is the second approval issued under the Deepwater Ports Act. The US Maritime Administration approved the first approval in November 2003. Maritime Administrator Captain William G. Schubert noted that his agency has three additional applications under review, and expects to receive more. "Natural gas consumption is rising rapidly, and an increased supply is important for our energy independence," he said.