Mouchel supports Excelerate Energy on South America’s first-ever LNG import facility



Mouchel, Surrey, UK


Mouchel’s ports business has supported US-based natural gas company Excelerate Energy in reaching a significant milestone in the gas industry’s history – the successful delivery (in June 2008) of Argentina’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo to the newly constructed import facility at the port city of Bahia Blanca,
approximately 400 miles South of Buenos Aires.

The Bahia Blanca GasPort LNG facility is South America’s first-ever LNG receiving facility and the world’s second dockside regasification facility. At the Bahia Blanca GasPort, an Excelerate LNG regasification vessel (which vaporises LNG onboard) is docked at a dedicated jetty where it is connected to the onshore natural gas pipeline via Excelerate’s specially designed dockside high-pressure gas unloading arm, and feeds natural gas directly into Argentina’s gas distribution system. Up to 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per day can be delivered to Argentina’s market.

Mouchel was involved in all Civil/Marine design aspects of the project, from feasibility right through to detailed design and construction supervision. Mouchel also supported Excelerate Energy in the development of the world’s first dockside regasification facility at Teesport, near Middlesbrough. In February 2007, Teesside GasPort became the second operational LNG terminal in the UK.

The use of ship-based vaporisation technology significantly reduces the need to construct land-based gas processing infrastructure and as a result, GasPort facilities have much lower capital costs and much shorter development and construction programmes than conventional LNG facilities. The total cost of Teesside GasPort was less than £40 M, a tenth of the cost of a comparably sized land-based LNG facility. From site selection to delivery of the first cargo, it took just 12 months at Teesside GasPort and 10 months at Bahia Blanca GasPort.

Both Teesside and Bahia Blanca GasPorts were constructed on existing jetties and innovative solutions were required to resolve significant challenges associated with both structures. At Teesside, the issue was that the gas manifold on a regasification vessel is a long way forward of the vessel centreline and the required location of the highpressure gas unloading arm was outside the footprint of the existing jetty.

Mouchel’s solution was a concrete bridge spanning between two existing structures to support both a 130 tonne steel unloading arm support tower (also Mouchel designed) and the unloading arm itself. At Bahia Blanca, the challenge was that there was insufficient space on the existing jetty for a Teesside-type unloading arm configuration and unloading arm support tower. Mouchel developed an alternative unloading arm configuration with the arm manufacturer and designed a very compact unloading arm support tower in concrete.

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