The goal of the U.S. Department of Energy cooperative research project is to define, describe, and validate, a process to utilize salt caverns to receive and store the cargoes of LNG ships. The project defines the process as receiving LNG from a ship, pumping the LNG up to cavern injection pressures, warming it to cavern compatible temperatures, injecting the warmed vapor directly into salt caverns for storage, and distribution to the pipeline network. The performance of work under this agreement is based on U.S. Patent 5,511,905, and other U.S. and Foreign pending patent applications. The cost sharing participants in the research are The National Energy Technology Laboratory (U.S. Department of Energy), BP America Production Company, Bluewater Offshore Production Systems (U.S.A.), Inc., and HNG Storage, L.P. Initial results indicate that a salt cavern based receiving terminal could be built at about half the capital cost, less than half the operating costs and would have significantly higher delivery capacity, shorter construction time, and be much more secure than a conventional liquid tank based terminal. There is a significant body of knowledge and practice concerning natural gas storage in salt caverns, and there is a considerable body of knowledge and practice in handling LNG, but there has never been any attempt to develop a process whereby the two technologies can be combined. Salt cavern storage is infinitely more secure than surface storage tanks, far less susceptible to accidents or terrorist acts, and much more acceptable to the community. The project team developed conceptual designs of two salt cavern based LNG terminals, one with caverns located in Calcasieu Parish Louisiana, and the second in Vermilion block 179 about 50 miles offshore Louisiana. These conceptual designs were compared to conventional tank based LNG terminals and demonstrate superior security, economy and capacity. The potential for the development of LNG receiving terminals, utilizing salt caverns for storage and the existing comprehensive pipeline system has profound implications for the next generation of LNG terminals. LNG imports are expected to become an increasingly more important part of the U.S. energy supply and the capacities to receive LNG securely, safely, and economically must be expanded. Salt cavern LNG receiving terminals both in onshore and offshore locations can be quickly built and provide additional import capacity into the U.S. exceeding 6-10 Bcf/day in the aggregate.

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Published on 01/01/2003

Volume 2003, 2003
DOI: 10.2172/812591
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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