Elba Island LNG Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Elba Island LNG Terminal, also known as Southern LNG, is an import/export terminal on Elba Island, in Chatham County, Georgia, five miles (8 km) downstream from Savannah, Georgia.


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Export Project Details

  • Operator: Southern LNG Company LLC[1]
  • Owner: Southern LNG Company LLC[2]
  • Parent: Kinder Morgan [51%], Blackstone [49%][3] (via Blackstone Credit)
  • Location: Chatham County, Georgia, United States
  • Coordinates: 32.0891627,-80.997805
  • Capacity: 2.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa)[1]
  • Status: Operating[4]
  • Type: Export
  • Trains: 10[1]
  • Financing: US$730 million in debt financing to EIG Global Energy Partners to fund its acquisition from Kinder Morgan of a 49% stake in the Elba Liquefaction Company[5][6]
  • Start Year: Units 1-5: 2019;[1] Units 6-10: 2020[7][8]

Import Project Details

  • Owner: Southern LNG Company LLC
  • Parent company: Kinder Morgan[9] [51%]; Blackstone [49%] (via Blackstone Credit)
  • Location: Chatham County, Georgia, United States
  • Coordinates: 32.0891627,-80.997805
  • Capacity: 12 mtpa[10]
  • Status: Retired
  • Type: Import
  • Start Year: 1972
  • Retire Year: 1980

Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcfd = billion cubic feet per day


Import Terminal

The initial authorization for the Elba Island facility was issued in 1972. It was built by Sonat, Inc., based in Birmingham, Alabama, for its Southern Natural Gas division. LNG shipments ceased during the first half of 1980.[11]

Export Terminal

On March 16, 2000, the project received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorization to re-commission and renovate the LNG facilities.[12]

On April 10, 2003, FERC issued an order authorizing the expansion of the facility, which included adding a second and third docking berth, a fourth cryogenic storage tank, and associated facilities. The expansion enabled an increase of working gas capacity and an increase of the firm sendout rate.[13]

El Paso Corporation, the owner of the Southern LNG facility, announced the start up of the expanded facility, called Elba II, on February 1, 2006. The expansion cost approximately $157 million and added 3.3 billion cubic feet (93,000,000 m3) equivalent[14]

El Paso Corporation also applied for an additional expansion, on February 1, 2006, called Elba III, to double capacity again by 2010.[14] On September 20, 2007 FERC approved El Paso's expansion for Elba III.[15]

Southern LNG operates Elba. Its parent company is Kinder Morgan which, through another of its holdings, Southern Liquefaction Company, has formed a joint venture with Shell to develop the gas liquefaction plant.[16]

Plans to convert the facility to export at the existing Elba Island LNG Terminal were announced in 2013. The project will add gas liquefaction at Elba.[16] Construction of the conversion project began in November of 2016.[17]

Ten modular liquefaction trains will liquefy the natural gas that arrives by a pipeline. The liquefaction process shrinks the volume of natural gas by a factor of 600.[17]

Construction of the conversion project began in November of 2016, and is expected to be operating at full capacity by March, 2020. Train 1 came online in May of 2019, with one train expected to come online per month until full capacity is reached in February of 2020.[18]

In March 2017, EIG Global Energy Partners (EIG) become a 49% joint venture participant in Elba Liquefaction Company which will own 10 liquefaction units and other ancillary equipment to be constructed as part of the existing Southern LNG Company's Elba Island LNG facility.[19] EIG received debt financing in 2017 and 2019 totalling US$730 million to fund the acquisition. The lenders involved were Société Générale, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, ING, Mizuho, Santander, SMBC, ABN AMRO, Caixa Bank, CIC Bank, KfW IPEX Bank, BayernLB, NAB, Investec, CIT Bank, Siemens Financial Services, Korea Development Bank, FirstBank Puerto Rico and RIN Ltd.[5][6]

According to the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers' 2020 Annual Report, the commissioning of the ten trains began in 2019, with Royal Dutch Shell as the sole buyer.[1]

In May 2020, a fire which broke out at one of the facility's liquefaction compressors led to the shutting down of Units 1-3. Ten days later on May 22 units 1 and 3 had been brought back online.[20]

In July 2020, Reuters reported that, with Trains 1-6 already in service, Kinder Morgan planned to have Train 8 in service by July 13 and the company had also asked U.S. energy regulators for permission to put Train 7 in service. While Trains 1-6 have progressively gone into service since October 2019, Elba has not exported any cargoes since January 2020 due to cuts in global energy demand brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.[21]

Following the commissioning of Trains 10[22] and 7[23] in August 2020, all ten movable modular liquefaction units at the facility were in service.

Latha Anderson, et al. v. FERC

On March 24, 2008 Latha Anderson ("Anderson") filed a suit against FERC, Latha Anderson, et al. v. FERC, asking that FERC deny construction authority for the Northern Segment of Elba Express’ proposed pipeline (part of the Elba III project). Anderson charged that a thorough review for alternative route site selection was not done and that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was manipulated to make the final approved, Northern Segment, route appeared to have the least impact on the environment. Anderson proposed that FERC reconsider a new route. Previously, on July 12, 2007 Anderson had ask FERC to deny the pipeline going through the Northern Segment. FERC denied Anderson’s motion for hearing, but said that it will review the petition.[24]


The Sierra Club requested FERC a more extensive analysis of the environmental effects of the Southern LNG's export expansion in an Environmental Impact Statement. If FERC agrees to that analysis, it could delay the project several years.[25]

Local Sierra Club members have voiced opposition to 10,000 truck deliveries per month for the first six months of Southern LNG's construction. Truck traffic will taper off, but continue for the two years it will take for construction.[17]

The facility will need deliveries of chemical refrigerants to run the process that takes methane from its gaseous form and cools it to make it liquid. Other trucks will remove the chemical by-products of this process.[17]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The LNG Industry: Annual Report 2020, page 38, International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers, accessed April 29, 2020
  2. Southern LNG Company, L.L.C - 18-15-LNG. U.S. Department of Energy. Accessed May 2022.
  3. "Blackstone takes 49 percent stake in Elba Island LNG export plant". LNG Prime. 2022-05-23. Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  4. Sergio Chapa, Kinder Morgan sets service date for Elba Island LNG, moves forward on Gulf LNG Houston Chronicle, April 18, 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 Acquisition of 49% Stake In Elba Island Liquefaction Facility IJGlobal, accessed Oct. 5, 2020
  6. 6.0 6.1 EIG Facility Upsizing 2019 IJGlobal, accessed Oct. 5, 2020
  7. "Elba LNG," Kinder Morgan, accessed 9/2/2020
  8. U.S. Liquefaction Capacity, Energy Information Administration, November 3, 2020
  9. "https://epd.georgia.gov/air/sites/epd.georgia.gov.air/files/related_files/document/0510003nar.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-08-01. External link in |title= (help)
  10. 2020 World LNG Report, International Gas Union, April 27, 2020
  11. "Elba Island (Georgia)," Wikipedia, accessed 1/26/2020
  12. Elba Island LNG Expansion. - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
  13. "Order Authorizing Expansion". - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). - April 10, 2003. - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  14. 14.0 14.1 El Paso Corporation Announces Start of Service From Elba II Expansion - El Paso Corporation. - February 01, 2006
  15. "Commission approval of New, Expanded Natural Gas Facilities includes LNG, Storage, Pipeline Projects". - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). - September 20, 2007 | In Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document format | Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) - Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Mary Landers, "$1 billion natural gas plans progress," Savannah Now, March 12, 2013.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Mary Landers, "Kinder Morgan construction plans at Elba include 10,000 trucks per month," Savannah Now, October 16, 2015.
  18. Sergio Chapa,Kinder Morgan sets service date for Elba Island LNG, moves forward on Gulf LNG Houston Chronicle, April 18, 2019
  19. "Kinder Morgan Sells 49% Interest in Elba Liquefaction Company to EIG Global Energy Partners Investment Funds," Business Wire, March 3, 2017.
  20. "Kinder Morgan Restarting Elba Island LNG Units Impacted by Fire," Natural Gas Intel, May 22, 2020.
  21. Scott DiSavino,"Kinder Morgan says 7th Georgia Elba LNG export plant unit ready," Reuters, July 13, 2019
  22. Scott DiSavino,"Kinder Morgan gets OK to put 9th unit at Georgia Elba LNG plant in service," Reuters, Aug. 10, 2020
  23. Will Owen,"Kinder Morgan brings final Elba Island LNG liquefaction unit online," LNG Industry, Aug. 28, 2020
  24. Court Cases: New Petitions. - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). | Petition - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document) | Denial - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  25. Mary Landers, "Kinder Morgan construction plans at Elba include 10,000 trucks per month," Savannah Now, October 16, 2015.

Related GEM.wiki articles

Wikipedia also has articles on this topic: "Southern LNG" and "Elba Island.". This article may use content from these Wikipedia articles under the terms of the GFDL.