It soon will be easier to import natural gas from fuel tankers, without disruption to shoreline communities and the environment, thanks in part to a new deepwater liquid natural gas (LNG) port approved today by the U.S. Maritime Administration.
The LNG port, to be built by El Paso Energy Bridge Gulf of Mexico LLC about 116 miles south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico, is 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 U.S. 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," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta.
Worldwide, natural gas is in plentiful supply. However, the United States holds
less than 4 percent 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 United States. The construction and operation of deepwater ports will enhance the options available for the importation of natural gas into the United States, 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 first approval was issued 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."
Energy Bridge Gulf of Mexico LLC (Energy Bridge GOM) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of El Paso Field Services Holding Company, which is 100 percent owned by El Paso Tennessee Pipeline Company, which is, in turn, a major subsidiary of El Paso Corporation, based in Houston, Texas.