South Hook LNG Terminal

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

South Hook LNG Terminal is an LNG terminal in Wales, UK.


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Project Details

  • Owner: Qatar Petroleum (67.5%), ExxonMobil (24.15%), ELF Petroleum (8.35%)
  • Location: Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
  • Coordinates: 51.7152, -5.07627 (exact)
  • Capacity: 15.6 mtpa, 2.24 bcfd
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Import
  • Start Year: 2009

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


South Hook LNG Terminal is an LNG terminal in Wales, UK.[1]

The South Hook LNG terminal is an LNG storage and regasification terminal located at the site of the former Esso oil refinery in Milford Haven, Wales, UK. It is part of a supply-chain linking natural gas from Qatar's North field to the terminal in Wales, which is then transported via pipeline to the UK gas network. As production declines in the North Sea,the UK is importing increasing amounts of energy from Qatar.[2]

The terminal is operated by South Hook LNG Company Ltd., which is owned by a joint venture of Qatar Petroleum (67.5%), ExxonMobil (24.15%) and Total (8.35%). The site contains five LNG storage tanks, a regasification plant, and a jetty which allows access for large LNG vessels.[3]

Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. (CB&I) was contracted to engineer and construct both phases of the terminal. Phase 1 consisted of a ship unloading system, three full containment 155,00 cubic meter LNG storage tanks, and a regasification and send out system. The existing jetty was also refurbished to allow for the berthing of LNG tanker ships. Phase 2 doubled the facility’s regasification capacity, added two more 155,00 cubic meter LNG storage tanks, and refurbished a second loading dock on the jetty.[4]

The terminal became operational in 2009 and maintains a capacity of 15.6 million tons per annum (mpta) and can supply up to 21 billion cubic meters (bcm) to the UK annually.[5] The terminal's capacity of 15.6 mpta and ability to supply 21 bcm per year makes it the largest LNG terminal in Europe.[6] The mega-project cost an estimated £1 billion and is expected to supply around 20% of the UK’s gas demand.[7]


In November 2006, construction was halted by protestors who climbed inside the pipe at Trebanos in the Swansea Valley.[8]

In February 2007, a police operation was launched after around a dozen protestors broke into the terminal. Thirteen people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass. Protests had also been held against the 190-mile (306 km) pipeline associated with the terminal.[8]

Similar to the Dragon LNG Terminal also located in Milford Haven, the construction process of the South Hook Terminal witnessed multiple walkouts by workers due to health and safety concerns. Additionally, the pipeline connecting Milford Haven to the UK gas network was disrupted multiple times by environmental opposition which included legal action and direct action protests. However, the pipeline was completed in November, 2007.[9]

Additionally, the construction and permitting of the LNG terminal was challenged in the European Court of Human Rights. In the case of Hardy & Maile v. the United Kingdom, Alison Hardy and Rodney Maile disputed the legality of the UK authorities’ consent to the construction and operation of the LNG terminals in Milford Haven.[10]

Using the European Convention on Human Rights, the plaintiffs argued that Article 2 on the right to life and Article 8 on the right to protection of private and family life were violated by the UK government. The applicants asserted that the government improperly conducted a risk assessment and had not adequately considered the possibility of collisions or explosions. The argument also maintained that the government had not properly assessed the environmental damage that marine life would incur as a result of the LNG terminals while also declaring that important information was withheld from the public by the government and developers.[11]

On February 14th, 2012, Alison Hardy and Rodney Maile lost their case against the UK authorities in the European Court of Human Rights. Although the court did throw out the argument regarding Article 2, it did review the case under Article 8. However, the court ruled that there had been no violation of Article 8 since there was no proof of existing environmental damage to marine life at the time of judicial review. The court also stated that the regulatory authorities and developers had provided adequate safety and environmental information regarding the terminals to the general public.[12]

Opposition groups have called into question the necessity of such extensive LNG infrastructure, citing the low utilization rates of the UK's operating LNG import terminals. According to Food and Water Europe's 2019 UK gas profile, "The £250m Dragon LNG terminal in Wales, UK is an exceptional case as the average utilisation rate for the project seems to have been 0 for the last decade. This project has been undergoing 'planned maintenance' work and doesn't appear to supply the UK with gas. Without taking Dragon into account, the average LNG utilization rate of UK LNG terminals stood at only 22% between January 2012 and March 2019, with Dragon LNG even less (~14%)."[13]

Articles and resources


  1. South Hook LNG Terminal, Wikipedia, accessed April 2017
  2. South Hook LNG Terminal, Wales, United Kingdom, accessed August 2017
  3. Kim Brasington,"First LNG Commissioning Cargo Arrives at South Hook Terminal," "ExxonMobil", March 20, 2009.
  4. South Hook LNG Terminal EPC Engineer, accessed August 2017
  5. South Hook LNG Terminal, Wales, United Kingdom, accessed August 2017
  6. LNG in Europe 2016/2017: An Overview of LNG Import Terminals in Europe King & Spaliding LLP, accessed August 2017
  7. Contributing to the UK's energy needs, accessed August 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1, BBC, February 14, 2007
  9. "Timeline: LNG Plants in Wales," "BBC", March 19, 2009.
  10. Hardy & Maile v. The United Kingdom"[1]," "The European Court of Human Rights", February 14, 2012.
  11. "Strasbourg Court Finds No Violation of Article 8 in Hardy & Maile v. the United Kingdom," "King Student's Law Review", February 19, 2012
  12. Hardy & Maile v. The United Kingdom"[2]," "The European Court of Human Rights", February 14, 2012.
  13. UK Food and Water Europe, accessed December 6, 2019

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