Approved Applications and Operational Facilities
Overview of Deepwater Port Applications Reviewed by the Maritime Administration
To date, nineteen Deepwater Port License Applications have been filed for approval. (Seventeen applications were filed for licenses to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and two applications were filed for licenses to import oil.) The following sections provide the current status of all deepwater port license applications filed with the Maritime Administration to date.
Approved Applications and Operational Facilities
Of the nine approved applications, seven licenses have been issued to date. Specifically, three licenses were issued for facilities that are currently operational [LOOP, Neptune, Northeast Gateway], two licenses have been surrendered [Gulf Landing, Port Pelican], one license has been issued for a facility that will begin construction in the future [Port Dolphin], and the final license was issued for a facility that is currently being decommissioned [Gulf Gateway]. Further, it should be noted that two applications received a favorable Record of Decision but were withdrawn before a license was issued [Bienville Offshore, Main Pass].
Approved – Operational Facilities
Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (Marathon Domestic LLC)
On June 1, 2000, the Secretary of Transportation issued a Deepwater Port license to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is the only Deepwater Port petroleum terminal in existence today. LOOP is located 16 miles southeast of Port Fourchon in the Gulf of Mexico. LOOP was built by a group of major oil and pipeline companies, and has been operational since 1981. It serves as an unloading and distribution port for incoming supertankers to the Gulf region. The petroleum is piped north to Lafourche Parish, where it is stored and piped to markets throughout the country.
Neptune LNG (Suez LNG N.A.)
On February 15, 2005, Neptune LNG LLC filed an application for construction and operation of an LNG facility to be located in Massachusetts Bay, 10 miles south of Gloucester and 22 miles, Northeast of Boston. On January 31, 2007, the Maritime Administrator signed a favorable Record of Decision for the Neptune project, contingent upon the applicant's commitment to employ U.S. mariners aboard its vessels servicing the facility. On March 26, 2007, the Maritime Administration issued a Deepwater Port License to Suez LNG to build, own, and operate an LNG receiving and regasification facility.
Currently, Neptune is working with the Maritime Administration and other relevant agencies to address the port’s current operational status and the future energy needs of the northeast.
Northeast Gateway (Excelerate Energy)
On June 13, 2005, Excelerate Energy filed an application for construction and operation of a Deepwater Port terminal to be located in Massachusetts Bay, approximately 13 miles south-southeast of the City of Gloucester, MA and in federal waters approximately 270 feet in depth. On February 7, 2007, the Maritime Administrator signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port project, contingent upon the applicant's commitment to employ U.S. mariners aboard its vessels servicing the facility. On May 14, 2007, the Maritime Administrator signed the license for Excelerate to own, operate and construct the Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port.
Currently, Excelerate is consulting with the Maritime Administration and other Federal agencies to obtain renewal of the required Federal permits and authorizations for the continuation of port operations and maintenance activities as well as address other outstanding operational issues.
Approved- Surrendered Licenses
Gulf Landing (U.S. Gas & Oil, LLC)
On November 3, 2003, Gulf Landing, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell U.S. Gas & Oil, LLC, filed an application for the construction and operation of an offshore Gravity Based Structure to be located thirty-eight miles offshore of Louisiana. On February 16, 2005, the Record of Decision was issued, and on April 29, 2005, the official license was issued. However, in March of 2007, Gulf Landing announced its intention to terminate all project and construction activities for the proposed facility.
Thereafter, on April 30, 2009, Gulf Landing LLC surrendered its deepwater port license. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) accepted the license surrender and issued a License surrender notice in the Federal Register on July 1, 2009 (71 FR 31479). No public comments were received regarding this action. This project remains closed.
Port Pelican (Port Pelican, LLC)
On November 25, 2002, Port Pelican, LLC (Port Pelican), an affiliate of ChevronTexaco Corporation, submitted an application for a deepwater port license to construct LNG gravity based structure facility off the coast of Louisiana. The Port Pelican Deepwater Port License was issued on January 20, 2004, and was the first deepwater port license to be issued for the construction and operation of an LNG facility.
On July 11, 2005, Port Pelican LLC provided a letter to the Maritime Administration and U.S. Coast Guard of its plans to place the project on an indefinite hold. On October 4, 2005, a Notice of Cancellation was published in the Federal Register. Later, on October 28, 2009, the Maritime Administration received notification from Port Pelican LLC of the relinquishment of its License. In response, the Maritime Administration published a Federal Register Notice on December 9, 2009, announcing the relinquishment of the License and cancellation of all actions related to the project. To date, the project remains closed with the Maritime Administration.
Approved- Future Construction
Port Dolphin (Port Dolphin LLC)
On March 29, 2007, Port Dolphin Energy LLC filed an application with the Maritime Administration to construct a deepwater port located in federal waters approximately 28 miles offshore of Tampa, Florida. The applicant is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Höegh LNG. The proposed port will consist of two Submerged Turret Loading (STL) buoys similar to those used in the Northeast Gateway and Neptune projects.
On October 26, 2009, the Maritime Administration issued a Record of Decision (ROD) approving, with conditions, the Port Dolphin Energy Deepwater Port License application, and on April 19, 2010, the official license was issued.
Port Dolphin is currently working with the relevant Federal and State of Florida agencies to obtain the required authorizations and permits for construction and operation of the facility. It is anticipated that construction of the Port Dolphin facility will commence later in 2013.
Approved- Withdrawn Prior to License Issuance
TORP Technology LP filed an application on January 12, 2006, for a Liquefied Natural Gas facility to be located in the Gulf of Mexico, 63 miles south of Mobile Point, AL. The proposed facility would consist of a HiLoad Unit, a floating structure connecting directly to the Liquefied Natural Gas carrier hull. On October 9, 2008, the applicant elected to withdraw its application in order to consider technical modifications to its proposed project.
On October 29, 2010, the Maritime Administration approved with conditions, the modified TORP Terminal deepwater port license application. The approval conditions required that TORP Terminal meet all financial responsibilities requirements of the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended.
Since the issuance of the Record of Decision, TORP Terminal has been unable to meet the financial responsibility conditions required for license issuance. As a result, TORP Terminal withdrew its deepwater port license application from the final licensing process and terminated all project activities. In response, MARAD acknowledged TORP’s withdrawal and rescinded the official Record of Decision on June 18, 2012. This project remains closed.
Main Pass Energy Hub (Freeport McMoRan)
Main Pass Energy Hub, LLC filed an application for a deepwater port license on February 27, 2004. The proposed facility would have been located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. On May 5, 2006, the Governor of Louisiana used his authority as the Governor of an Adjacent Coastal State to veto the project based on proposed use of the open-loop regasification system and the possible environmental impacts to the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.
On May 31, 2006, the applicant resubmitted an amended application, proposing the use of a closed-loop regasification system. The revised application was deemed complete and the supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) on the proposed change was circulated for public comment. A favorable Record of Decision was issued by the Maritime Administration on January 3, 2007, pending the applicant’s compliance with a five-year period and a possible one year extension to demonstrate financial responsibility in accordance with requirements of the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended.
Due to significant financial challenges over the past several years, Freeport McMoRan has been unable to comply with the conditions of the Record of Decision. As such, on January 2, 2012, the Maritime Administration moved forward to rescind approval of the Record of Decision for the Freeport McMoRan project.
The agency is currently conducting the close-out procedures for this project and will issue an official Federal Register notice to the public in the near future.
Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge, LLC (Gulf Gateway), which was formerly owned by El Paso Energy Bridge Gulf of Mexico, LLC, and is now owned by Excelerate Energy Limited Partnership, filed a Deepwater Port License Application on December 20, 2002.
The Gulf Gateway site is located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana and consists of a Submerged Turret Loading (STL) system that is comprised of a submerged turret buoy; chains, lines and anchors; a flexible riser; and a subsea manifold. A Record of Decision was issued on December 31, 2003, and the license was issued on May 26, 2004. This was the second license issued under the Deepwater Port Act since the law was amended in 2002.
On February 22, 2012, Excelerate Energy notified the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard of its intention to decommission the Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge deepwater port. Excelerate’s decision to decommission the facility was due to irreparable hurricane damage to pipelines interconnecting with the deepwater port and a changing natural gas market, which impacted the operator’s ability to receive consistent shipments. After careful review and evaluation of the proposed removal plans, MARAD and other federal agencies authorized Excelerate’s decommissioning program for the Gulf Gateway deepwater port.
Excelerate’s removal activities are currently ongoing. It is anticipated that decommissioning activities will be completed by the Fall of 2012. Upon final satisfaction of all applicable federal and state removal requirements, the Maritime Administration will take appropriate action to conclude the project.