Record of Decision Clears Way for Deepwater LNG Port in Florida

Port Dolphin Energy, LLC, reported that a Record of Decision has been signed in its application for a license to build a deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) port off the West Coast of Florida.

The Record of Decision paves the way to the awarding of a deepwater port license to be issued by the U.S. Maritime Administration. The signing marks the successful completion of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement directed by the U.S. Coast Guard and formal approval last month by Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

Port Dolphin is a subsidiary of Hoegh LNG, a worldwide leader in the development of floating solutions in the LNG value chain. The new deepwater port located 28 miles off Tampa Bay will allow specially designed LNG vessels to deliver natural gas through an undersea pipeline to connect with the state’s pipeline system four miles inland. The LNG will be returned to a gaseous state onboard the vessels and fed into the pipeline to serve customers across Florida.

"We are pleased at the progress we have made in meeting the regulatory requirements for our new deepwater LNG port," said Sveinung J. Stohle, president and chief executive officer of Hoegh LNG. "The port will be an important new source of much-needed natural gas for the State of Florida."

New Gas Supply

The Florida Public Service Commission has forecast steadily rising demand for natural gas in the state. Several planned coal-fired power plants have been canceled, with the state increasingly turning to clean-burning natural gas for electric power production.

Port Dolphin's deepwater port will have peak sendout capacity of up to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day, enough to power more than one million homes. When fully operational, Port Dolphin will supply enough natural gas to meet 15 percent of Florida's needs. Construction is set to begin in 2012 with completion in 2013.

"We believe LNG and our sophisticated technology to deliver it will provide increased energy security, especially in places like Florida where additional supplies will be needed," said Jim Butcher, chairman and chief executive officer of Port Dolphin Energy.

Support for MARAD Crewing Initiative

Port Dolphin Energy also announced that it will actively support the Maritime Administration's "U.S. Crewing Initiative" and seek to provide employment and educational opportunities to American officers and mariners in its operations. Port Dolphin has committed to work to employ U.S. mariners on Port Dolphin vessels serving the port, and to provide support for training initiatives.

"Port Dolphin is delighted to work with the Maritime Administration to encourage the utilization of American crews in the international LNG shipping market," Butcher said.