Delfin LNG LLC (Delfin) has submitted an application to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to construct, own, and operate the Delfin LNG Project (Port Delfin) under the Deepwater Port Act (DWPA). The proposed Project would be located approximately 50 miles off the coast of Cameron Parish, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico and would liquefy natural gas for export to free trade agreement (FTA) and non-FTA nations under authorizations from the U.S. Department of Energy. Port Delfin would be the first US floating liquefaction project and the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) export deepwater port project in the US.
On July 16, 2015, MARAD and USCG, as the lead agencies under the DWPA and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), published the Notice of Application indicating that Delfin’s application contained all of the required information. The DWPA imposes a strict timeline for processing an application. From the date of publication of this Notice, the DWPA establishes a specific time frame of 330 days for approval or denial of the deepwater port license. During this time period, MARAD and USCG, in collaboration with other agencies, ensure that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is developed and that public hearings in the adjacent states are held. If MARAD and USCG determine that additional information is necessary during this process, they may suspend review at their discretion. Further information about the deepwater port licensing process is available on MARAD and USCG’s websites.
The Delfin Project has both offshore and onshore components. The Project proposes to re-use existing, underutilized pipeline infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico to transport natural gas offshore to four moored floating liquefied natural gas vessels (FLNGVs). The FLNGVs will use air cooling technology to liquefy natural gas, significantly reducing impacts on marine resources. The Project also proposes to construct an onshore compressor station to move natural gas through the pipeline to the FLNGVs, and Delfin has submitted an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the onshore components of the Project.
The DWPA provides for a streamlined and coordinated review of the multiple permits, approvals and authorizations needed for the Port Delfin Project. The EIS for the Project will address both the offshore and onshore components and provide the NEPA review for both the deepwater port license application and the FERC application. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), among other agencies, are cooperating agencies in the NEPA process and will incorporate the EIS into their permitting processes. In the upcoming 330 days, MARAD and USCG will publish additional Federal Register notices regarding public meeting(s) and other procedural milestones, including the NEPA review and public scoping meetings.