Alabama Governor Approves Offshore LNG Terminal

Alabama Governor Bob Riley has announced the approval of an application submitted by TORP Technology to operate the Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal, located 63 miles off the Alabama coast in 425 feet of water depth. The approval follows TORP’s agreement to use the more environmentally-friendly “closed-loop” method to reheat the liquified natural gas (LNG).  TORP had originally proposed using an “open-loop” system that would have used seawater from the Gulf to warm the imported LNG.

In 2006, ConocoPhillips proposed the construction of an offshore LNG terminal utilizing an open-loop system, but was denied by Governor Riley’s administration, citing a potentially negative impact on Alabama’s marine resources.  Although significantly different in design, TORP withdrew their original application as it too had been designed around an open-loop vaporization system.

On 15 September 2010, Joe Berno, CEO of TORP Terminal, announced that their newly re-designed LNG terminal “has gathered unprecedented support from local and state officials, business and community leaders, and environmental groups.  TORP Terminal has spent several years designing the terminal to be acceptable to these entities, and we are excited to continue this positive relationship with the state of Alabama.  With the Bienville Terminal we plan to offer innovative commercial, as well as technical, solutions to the industry.”

Their newly designed closed-loop system uses ambient air vaporization for heating the LNG, saving fuel costs and reducing environmental impact, and is used in conjunction with TORP’s proprietary HiLoad docking system.

In addition, the company has agreed to pay the state $25 million to establish a fund that will go toward protection, restoration and improvement of Alabama’s marine and coastal resources. That fund will be maintained by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Governor Riley states “with this agreement we’re able to protect and enhance our environment, improve our economy with 250 new jobs, and provide an important alternative source of natural gas for Alabama.  I commend TORP for its proposal. Instead of using technology that would harm our valuable marine resources, now they will use an environmentally safe system. At the same time, the project will generate new jobs and help the state establish a fund that will enhance our environment. I believe this agreement is a model of cooperation between government and business and for the responsible development of future energy projects.”

[Image Source: TORP Technology]