From the Bradenton Herald
PORT MANATEE — A liquid natural gas pipeline project that could have brought more than $30 million in cash and assets to Port Manatee has burned out in a market awash with homegrown natural gas.
Port Dolphin Energy, a subsidiary of Norwegian natural gas company Hoegh LNG, notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it was vacating all permits and permissions it had acquired to build a submerged open-water port that would have connected to Port Manatee via a 28-mile pipeline.
The project would have allowed Port Dolphin to pump imported natural gas from tankers stopping at the deepwater pipeline connection without docking in a physical port. Those tankers would have hooked into what would have essentially been an underwater node miles from shore, then pumped liquid natural gas through an underwater pipeline to Port Manatee. Once on shore, the gas could have been distributed to homes or used to power electric utility power plants.
In its September filing, the company cited a major uptick in domestic natural gas production in the United States as its reason for canceling the project. It stated that the U.S. is “becoming an exporter rather than an importer of natural gas,” which left the company unable to negotiate gas import contracts for the facility.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. imports of natural gas have dropped from a net high of 3.7 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 1.25 trillion in 2014.
Had the project been built, the pipeline would have come ashore at Port Manatee and would have run through port property. It would have been the second pipeline at the port, running alongside a Gulfstream Natural Gas line built there in 2002.