September 2, 2005
Offshore LNG port unaffected by Katrina
The first offshore LNG port, the Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge deepwater port has come through Hurricane Katrina without any effect on operations.
Energy Bridge is the proprietary offshore LNG regasification and delivery system developed by Excelerate Energy. This system involves the use of purpose built LNG tankers incorporating regasification technology..
The Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge deepwater port (Gulf Gateway) has been operational since March 2005. is owned by Excelerate Energy Limited Partnership. Located in Block 603 of the West Cameron Area, South Addition at a distance of approximately 116 miles from the Louisiana coast, Gulf Gateway has a baseload capacity of 500 million cubic feet per day with a peak capacity of 690 million cubic feet per day.
Once a regasification vessel reaches Gulf Gateway, it retrieves and connects to the port's STL Buoy and commences regasification of the LNG on-board. Natural gas is then discharged through the STL Buoy, into a flexible riser and delivered through an offloading pipeline to port's metering platform. From the metering platform, the natural gas flows to either the Sea Robin pipeline system or the Blue Water system.
On August 19, Excelerate Energy's second regasification vessel EXCELLENCE connected to the subsea buoy at the Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge deepwater port and commenced commissioning activities. Commercial gas flows followed shortly thereafter into both the Sea Robin and Blue Water systems. This deepwater port has been operational since March 2005.
On August 25, tropical storm Katrina strengthened to a category 1 hurricane and crossed Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. Continuing on a northwesterly trajectory, Katrina ultimately strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane as it approached the Louisiana coast.
Production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico began evacuating personnel and shutting in operations on August 26, and by August 28t, Hurricane Katrina had become a large tropical cyclonic system with winds in excess of 155 knots, gusting to almost 200 knots and seas building to over ten meters within a 100 mile radius of the storm.
The Master of the EXCELLENCE and deepwater port personnel diligently tracked the storm while following the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved procedures set out in the Deepwater Port Operations Manual and Emergency Procedures Manual. These procedures include tracking the storm from the time it enters the Gulf of Mexico, activating the Severe Weather Action Committee, planning and execution of a phased response of evacuation and eventual departure from the port should the conditions warrant.
On August 29, Katrina approached within 200 miles of Gulf Gateway where sea states built to 5 to 6 meters Ð well below the 100-year design and operational limits of the deepwater port.
During this time, the EXCELLENCE continued to discharge natural gas into the pipeline grid, increasing her natural gas discharge rate at the request of the pipelines in attempt to compensate for some of the lost Gulf of Mexico production. At no point in this operation did weather affect the operations of the vessel and Energy Bridge will continue normal operations in the coming days and weeks.