San Diego, California-based Sempra Energy is considering adding liquefaction capacity to its LNG regasification plant at Energía Costa Azul (ECA) in Baja California, Mexico.
Subsidiary Sempra LNG's Energía Costa Azul is the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) receipt terminal on North America's west coast. It is located about 15 mi. north of Ensenada. ECA is a subsidiary of Infraestructura Energética Nova, S.A.B de C.V (IEnova).
The US$975 million terminal has the capacity to process up to 1 Bcf/d of natural gas, following Phase 1 construction. The project could be expanded to process 2.7 Bcf/d, and In October 2007, the Mexican energy regulator CRE approved the capacity expansion.
Energía Costa Azul, along with the pipeline that connects it to existing pipelines in north Baja California, represents an investment of $1.2 billion in the state.
David Cobb, Sempra's vice president of operations, is responsible for developing and operating the company's LNG receiving facilities. Previously, as as general manager of LNG operations, he oversaw the development, permitting, and design of the Energia Costa Azul facility.
The facility was built by Techint SA de CV of Mexico; Black & Veatch of Kansas City, Mo.; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Tokyo; and Vinci Construction Grands Projects of France (BMVT). Freyssinet performed post-tensioning of the two 160,000cu. m LNG tanks.
Sempra explains that the full-containment LNG storage tanks at Energía Costa Azul were built using a design that provides two levels of safety protection. Within the full-containment storage tank, LNG is housed in a climate-controlled container, with extremely efficient insulation, "analogous to a thermos bottle." The climate-controlled container is encased inside a second container comprised of pre-stressed concrete.
The full-containment tanks have double walls — an inner wall of 9% nickel steel surrounded by a wall of concrete, 3ft thick. Should the inner steel wall fail, the outer concrete tanks would contain the LNG.
Energía Costa Azul's commercial operations began in May 2008, and the Al Safliya LNG tanker, capable of transporting 210,000cu. m, brought the first LNG cargo from Qatar. The terminal opened on 28 August 2008.
Shell Oil Co. is leasing half the Costa Azul terminal for 20 years. Sempra controls the other half and has contracted to import gas from Indonesia through an arrangement with BP PLC and its Tangguh LNG Partners.
Sempra also operates a second terminal, Cameron LNG, at Hackberry, Louisiana. It's 18 mi. from the Gulf of Mexico and within 35 miles of a pipeline hub that "serves nearly two-thirds of all US natural gas markets," according to Sempra.
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