Kinder Morgan, the US pipeline and infrastructure company, has encountered minor issues relating to the commissioning of equipment at the facility near Savannah in the state of Georgia vying to enter the start-up phase ahead of the Cameron LNG plant in Louisiana.
Elba Island is an existing import terminal that has been transformed into an export plant to produce an initial 2.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG from 10 small liquefaction Trains.
Kinder had previously expected the first liquefaction Train to come on stream in April and the remaining Trains following in sequence.
However, the project has been hit by minor construction delays. The start-up had previously been expected by the end of 2018.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the mini liquefaction Trains 1-6 at Elba Island are expected to start entering service at one-month intervals.
Elba Island’s Trains 7-10 are then scheduled to come on stream in the third quarter of 2019.
The 10 units being installed at Elba mark the first time this specific technology is being deployed in the US.
The Elba plant is using Royal Dutch Shell’s Movable Modular Liquefaction System. These small-scale liquefaction Trains are mostly pre-assembled then brought to the site.
“Since this is the first project using this specific configuration of liquefaction technology, we have experienced some minor issues that are being resolved as part of the process,” said Kinder.
The Georgia project is supported by a 20-year supply contract with Shell and is the smallest of the three US plants being completed in 2019. Shell was a stakeholder in the Elba Island plant when it operated as an import terminal.
Start-ups for Elba Island, Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG in Louisiana and the Freeport plant in Texas will double the number of US LNG export terminals in operation.
The Cameron facility is also set for production, ahead of Freeport, though both have suffered various holds ups and problems in construction.
Kinder and several equity fund partners are also developing the Gulf LNG export project proposed at the site of the existing import terminal at Pascagoula in Mississippi.