New Fortress Plans to Expand "Fast LNG" Portfolio in U.S. Gulf

New Fortress
The first two "Fast LNG" liquefaction plants will be installed off Louisiana (Courtesy New Fortress Energy)

Published May 5, 2022 4:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

LNG and FSRU specialist New Fortress Energy has plans to dramatically expand its portfolio of "Fast LNG" liquefaction terminals in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Its platform-and-jackup mounted natural gas liquefaction plants are designed for rapid buildout, and the company said Thursday that it will be filing for permits to install half a dozen more of them soon. 

New Fortress is planning to install its first two "Fast LNG" units in West Delta Lease Block 38, located about 16 nm off Grand Isle, Louisiana. The two independent liquefaction trains at this deepwater "port" would export about 1.4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG each. Though small by shoreside standards, the plant design would offer a number of advantages, like low cost and speed to market - a critical factor at a time of high demand for LNG. The company says that it should be able to produce each facility on an 18-20 month timescale, from engineering through construction and commissioning. 

Though the permitting process for the installation is still under way, the three jack-up rigs that will make up the first "Fast LNG" liquefaction train are already undergoing conversion at Kiewit Shipyard in Texas. Since the work is not being done at the installation site, construction of the modular plant equipment can proceed concurrently with regulatory review. The three  converted rigs (and three more jacket-mounted platforms) are expected to come online in 2023. 

By July, New Fortress plans to file for permits for six more liquefaction trains for offshore installation off the coast of Texas. This would expand its North American portfolio to eight units with a combined capacity of just over 11 mtpa - about the same size as Cheniere Energy's Corpus Christi Phase III onshore plant. 

Since New Fortress Energy is also an owner of FSRUs and LNG carriers, the company stands to benefit from every phase of the seaborne transport of natural gas. In an investor presentation released Thurdsay, New Fortress noted that FSRU demand is expected to take off in Northern Europe, where LNG import demand far outstrips receiving terminal capacity. The company has two FSRUs available now, plus one coming off contract towards the end of the year and one LNG carrier undergoing conversion into an FSRU.