The United States Coast Guard has affirmed the suitability of the Brownsville Ship Channel for Texas LNG’s marine traffic.
In a Letter of Recommendation issued to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the USCG Captain R.A. Hahn, Captain of the Port, Corpus Christi, Texas, said that the Brownsville Ship Channel is considered as suitable for “accommodating the type and frequency of LNG marine traffic associated with this project.”
The Letter of Recommendation was issued after the USCG reviewed the information in the applicant’s Letter of Intent and Waterway Suitability Assessment and completed an evaluation of the waterway in consultation with a variety of state and local port stakeholders.
In its review of Texas LNG’s Water Suitabilitity Assessment, the Coast Guard addressed public comments that raised a number of issues, including safety, security, potential environmental impacts, economics, public outreach, and physical characteritics of the ship channel.
In addition, the Coast Guard considered not only Texas LNG’s expected LNG carrier traffic, but also recognized other traffic transiting through the channel including offshore rigs, aircraft carriers, fishing vessels, recreational vessels, towing vessels, non-piloted barges, as well as potential traffic from other proposed LNG projects.
The Coast Guard concluded that the waterway is suitable to handle current and anticipated incremental traffic from the Texas LNG facility.
The Texas LNG facility is being designed to accommodate LNG carriers with nominal LNG capacities up to 180,000 m3 and dimensions on the order of 977-feet long and 151-feet wide. The Brownsville Ship Channel has a current depth of 42 feet, with full U.S. Congressional authorization to deepen its channel to 52 feet.
The total inbound transit from the Gulf of Mexico sea buoy (pilot boarding area) to the future Texas LNG terminal berth is approximately seven miles (11 km). This is a notable advantage over most other proposed US LNG projects in Texas, as well those in Louisiana, where transit distances can be significantly longer.
Full FERC approval and Final Investment Decision (FID) for the development of the Texas LNG liquefaction project in Brownsville, Texas, are expected in 2019, and first phase production of 2 million tonnes per annum of LNG is expected to begin in 2023.