Delfin Offshore Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.
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Delfin Offshore Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline.[1]

Location

The proposed route of the pipeline is from Port Delfin, Gulf of Mexico, to Delfin LNG, Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

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Project Details

  • Operator: Delfin LNG
  • Current capacity:
  • Proposed capacity: 1.5 Billion cubic feet per day[2]
  • Length: 30 miles / 50 km
  • Status: Permitted
  • Start Year: 2021/2022
  • Cost: US$8 billion[3]

Background

The project was originally proposed by Delfin LNG, a subsidiary of Fairwood Peninsula Energy. In November 2013 Delfin LNG filed an application with the Department of Energy (DOE) seeking to construct, own, and operate a deepwater port with floating liquefaction and export facilities, and related onshore facilities, in West Cameron Block 167 in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 30 miles offshore of Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The facility would produce 657.5 Bcf/yr of natural gas to export to countries with whom the U.S. does not have free trade agreements.[4] It would consist of four semi-permanently moored floating LNG vessels, each capable of storing 210,000 cubic meters of LNG, and with a production capacity of 3.3 mtpa of the chilled fuel each.[5]

Golar LNG had been a primary financer of the project, but pulled out in August of 2019, citing a lack of co-investors and reliable customers.[6]

Offshore Facility

Due to its offshore location, the environmental review of Delfin was led by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard on behalf of the DOE.[5] The Delfin FLNG facility was approved by MARAD in March 2017.[4]

In June 2017, after receiving DOE approval, Delfin LNG announced that it would build the floating facility in partnership with Golar LNG.[7] In September 2017 the Delfin FLNG project was approved by FERC.[2] It is now the only the only permitted FLNG facility in the U.S.[8]

Onshore Facility

The Delfin FLNG would connect to U.S. natural gas pipelines and transmission systems through the reuse and repurpose of two existing offshore pipelines and proposed offshore pipeline laterals connecting to a Delfin onshore facility. Construction of an onshore facility in Cameron Parish, Louisiana was approved by FERC in September 2017.[9]

U.S. Export Strategy

With the U.S. set to become a net exporter of natural gas in 2017, the Delfin FLNG facility will play a key role in shipping U.S. natural gas abroad. During President Donald Trump's November 2017 trip to China, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed to facilitate the purchase of natural gas by China Gas Holdings from Delfin LNG.[10] Delfin LNG is also borrowing money from "unnamed" Chinese banks, according to CNBC, to pay for the estimated $8 billion cost of the Delfin FLNG.[11]

Opposition

In June 2015 the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a Motion To Intervene with FERC against the Delfin FLNG facility. The motion states: "The Center, on behalf of its members, strongly believes that the Project’s construction and operation, including exporting U.S. natural gas abroad, is not in the “public interest” because it will: (1) increase natural gas drilling in the United States, including the use of dangerous, controversial, and inadequately-regulated onshore and offshore hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” methods that contaminate water, degrade habitat, pollute the air, and require huge quantities of water; (2) harm wildlife and habitat and diminish air and water quality; (3) increase global warming due to emissions from wells, the energy intensive process of liquefying natural gas, and the ultimate use of the product; and (4) cause an increase in domestic gas prices for American homeowners. C.f. 18 C.F.R. § 153.7(c). Our members will be directly affected by the construction and operation of the Project."[12]

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References

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