Feb. 04–Federal regulators have given Houston pipeline operator Kinder Morgan the green light to begin a weeks-long startup process for the first production unit at the company’s Elba Island LNG export terminal in Savannah, Ga.
In a Friday order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission officials gave Kinder Morgan permission to start introducing natural gas into equipment at the company’s $2 billion liquefied natural gas plant.
The natural gas being introduced into the system will be used to test the plant’s equipment in a weeks-long process known in the industry as “commissioning.”
Kinder Morgan hopes to have the first of 10 production units being built on the Elba Island facility in service by the end of the first quarter.
The facility will be able to produce up to 2.5 million metric tons of LNG per year once the 10 are operational, roughly of enough natural gas to fuel about 1.75 million U.S. homes for a day.
Elba Island LNG is a joint venture between Kinder Morgan and Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners.
Originally built as an LNG import terminal, record natural gas production in U.S. shale basins prompted Kinder Morgan to seek permission to reconfigure the facility into an export terminal.
Kinder Morgan found a partner in oil and refining giant Shell, which holds a 20-year contract to market and export all the LNG produced at the Georgia facility.
Elba Island LNG is coming online at a time of growing global demand for liquefied natural gas. The U.S. LNG industry currently exports 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. However, that figure is expected to grow to 14 billion cubic feet per day by 2030 — a 496 percent increase.
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