Thanks to declining natural gas production on the U.K. Continental Shelf, the U.K. is becoming increasingly dependent on natural gas imports. In fact, the country is on track to import more than 80 percent of its gas by 2015.
Port Meridian Energy Ltd., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Norway-based Hoegh LNG AS, is developing a deepwater port offshore the west coast of the U.K. to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Hoegh subsidiary would build, own, and operate the facility; the proposed project would be located in English waters but outside the 12-nautical-mile boundary. By siting the project well offshore, the developer will avoid many application problems that shore-based LNG facilities often encounter.
The deepwater port -- called "Port Meridian" -- would receive LNG from shuttle- and regasification vessels (SRVs), which are LNG carriers that are modified to regasify the LNG onboard. The SRVs would offload the natural gas into a 56-km-long subsea pipeline by way of two submerged turret unloading and mooring buoys. Two 16-inch flexible risers would carry gas from each buoy down to two 36-inch subsea flowlines through a piggable Y connected to a 36-inch gas transmission line. The offshore pipeline would link to onshore facilities that are connected to National Grid's National Transport System, which transmits gas to various distribution points throughout England, Scotland, and Wales.
Port Meridian would be located 35 km offshore the coastline of Fylde, North West England. The associated onshore facilities would be located near the South Morecambe Terminal, which is near the town of Barrow-in-Furness.
According to the project Web site, Port Meridian Energy is seeking authorizations to construct the deepwater port and associated pipelines and receiving facilities. The company anticipates receiving the authorizations by mid-2009, and it projects a 2-year period for engineering, procurement, and construction. It foresees operations beginning in Third Quarter 2011.