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Caribbean Business Article on Aguirre Offshore LNG Terminal Announcement, Dec 22, 2011

posted Jan 22, 2012, 2:53 PM by Omar Pereira
By CB Online Staff

Texas-based Excelerate Energy has executed an agreement with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) to undertake the development and permitting of a floating offshore liquid natural gas (LNG) regasification facility off the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

As previously reported by CARIBBEAN BUSINESS, the Aguirre GasPort facility will provide fuel to the Central Aguirre power plant and is a step forward in the island's strategy to convert power generation from high-cost, high-emissions imported oil to cost-effective, cleaner-burning natural gas.

The Central Aguirre plant has already converted 600 megawatts (MW) of its available 1500 MW to utilize natural gas and has plans to convert the remaining 900 MW prior to completion of Excelerate Energy's Aguirre GasPort.

Prepa recognizes the urgent need to reduce the dependence on oil and increase the use of natural gas to stimulate economic development, attract industries, improve the quality of life and create more jobs on the island.

"If we want to be competitive at the global level, we must substantially reduce dependence on oil. The construction of the Aguirre GasPort facility will allow us to reduce that dependency," the public utility said in a statement.

Prepa is still pushing ahead with plans to build the Vía Verde natural gas pipeline. It would run from the south coast town of Peñuelas north to Arecibo, and then east to San Juan. The 91-mile-long pipeline would run four feet underground along PR-10 from Ponce to Arecibo, and along PR-22 from Arecibo to San Juan, where it would be sunk some 60 feet underground.

The Aguirre GasPort will be located approximately four miles off the southern coast of Puerto Rico, near the towns of Salinas and Guayama, and will utilize one of Excelerate Energy's floating storage and regasification units (FSRU). The facility will operate year-round, delivering natural gas to Prepa's Aguirre plant as its primary fuel source, eliminating the use of heavy fuel oil and diesel. Construction of the Aguirre GasPort will be Excelerate Energy's seventh floating LNG import facility ‒ the most of any company in the industry.

"We are extremely pleased to partner with Prepa in providing Puerto Rico with a reliable, clean fuel source for power generation that will greatly reduce air emissions for the island. Our experience and expertise in delivering floating regasification solutions in a cost-effective and timely manner ensure that we will provide an efficient and reliable project for Prepa," said Excelerate Energy President & CEO Rob Bryngelson.

The Aguirre GasPort will require authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and be subject to a full public environmental review and analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. The facility is expected to be in service in 2014.

The Aguirre GasPort uses proven technology that has been utilized in Argentina, Kuwait, Brazil, the United States and England. The company's fleet of eight purpose-built LNG regasification vessels is capable of transporting, storing, and delivering approximately 3.0 to 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas into various markets worldwide. Excelerate Energy is currently constructing the world's largest FSRU for Petrobras in Brazil. This vessel is expected to enter into service in May 2014.