Kinder Morgan's Elba Island LNG plant in Georgia suffers further commissioning delays

Wednesday, 05 June 2019

US pipeline company Kinder Morgan said it was still delaying the start-up of its Elba Island LNG export plant in Georgia after receiving regulatory permission in early March to introduce feed-gas into its systems comprising 10 small-scale liquefaction Trains.

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.

The Georgia terminal is among three US liquefaction facilities that are expected to begin service in 2019, adding to the country's growing energy export industry.

Kinder had initially expected the first Train to come on stream by the end of March and the remaining Trains following during the year.

However, the project had also been hit by minor construction delays and the original start-up day was gradually pushed back from the end of 2018.

“The start-up of Elba has been delayed due to additional common commissioning issues that are systematically being addressed on the first of the 10 liquefaction units,” said the company.

“We will issue a press release when we have resolved the issues and are in service,” it added. Kinder did not say how long the delay would last.

Kinder’s project near Savannah is utilizing Shell's Movable Modular Liquefaction System. The small-scale liquefaction trains were largely assembled off-site.

Kinder, based in Houston, will have feed-gas needs equivalent to around 350 million cubic feet per day.

Of the three plants set for start-up in 2019, only Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG facility at Hackberry in Louisiana has shipped its first cargo after a series of delays.

When Elba Island begins commercial operations soon followed by the Freeport plant in Texas, the US will double the number of export plants in operation.

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the 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 Georgia project is supported by a 20-year supply contract with Royal Dutch Shell.

The coming on stream of Elba Island on the East Coast would follow the shipping of the first cargo more than a year ago from the Cove Point in Maryland on Chesapeake Bay, operated by Dominion Energy.

The two Cheniere Energy plants on the Gulf Coast at Sabine Pass in Louisiana and Corpus Christi in Texas and Sempra’s Cameron plant give the US a current total of four plants in operation.