SUEZ LNG NA LLC's subsidiary Neptune LNG LLC said
today it received a letter from the United States Coast Guard deeming its Neptune Deepwater Port application for a license complete. Publication of
the letter in the Federal Register will start a statutory 330-day review period for approval of a license to build the offshore liquefied natural gas
(LNG) facility. In a related development, Neptune also announced today that it
filed an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) for the project with the
Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) unit. The ENF is scheduled to be
published in the Environmental Monitor on October 7, 2005.
"Our team has committed countless hours to ensure that Neptune will live
up to the highest environmental, safety, and reliability standards," said Rick
Grant, President and CEO of SUEZ LNG NA. "As a member of the Massachusetts
business community for 35 years, our company has carefully planned each aspect
of Neptune, from location to ship design. We believe operating both this
deepwater port and our onshore LNG import terminal in Everett, Massachusetts,
will go a long way toward meeting New England's increasing demand for natural
gas while continuing to provide highly reliable service."
Demand for natural gas from power generators and residential consumers in
New England is expected to increase by 1-2 percent per year over the next two
decades, with Massachusetts alone accounting for half of the region's natural
gas consumption. At this rate of growth, the region could face a supply gap
approaching 500 million cubic feet per day in five years.
Neptune will provide an average of 400 million cubic feet of natural
gas per day -- enough to serve 1.5 million homes daily. On very cold days and
other periods of peak demand, each Neptune vessel can increase its delivery
rate to 700 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Thus, by increasing
supply to the region, the project will help ensure that homes in Massachusetts
and the rest of New England have heat when temperatures drop and electricity
Because of Neptune's location off the coast of Massachusetts' North Shore,
local consumers also have "first claim" to the natural gas imported through
Neptune, just as they do with the Everett Terminal, versus the typical "last
claim" of supplies from the Gulf of Mexico or Canada. Further, Neptune would
provide critical pipeline pressure support during periods of peak demand.
Neptune Project Overview
The Neptune port will operate by mooring specially designed LNG ships
equipped to store, transport, and vaporize LNG into natural gas that
sent to customers using the existing HubLine(SM) sub-sea pipeline. The LNG
carriers will moor at the proposed deepwater port by means of a submerged
unloading buoy system consisting of two buoys. An LNG ship will typically moor
for four to eight days, depending on market demand. The two separate buoys
will ensure that natural gas can be delivered in a continuous flow by having a
brief overlap between arriving and departing LNG carriers.
Neptune LNG anticipates the project's development phase, including
regulatory and public consultation and evaluation, and a formal project
application review, to take approximately 15-18 months. The company
anticipates construction of the deepwater port components to take an
additional 3 years.
Neptune's location has several important benefits. It does not require any
precious coastal land, and also limits aesthetic impacts. Additionally, the
site offers the necessary water depth to support the buoy system technology
while specifically avoiding the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and
essential shipping lanes into Boston Harbor.