The contiguous U.S. natural gas market is on its way to having its second major LNG export terminal and a new source of demand in the Northeast region by the end of the year. Dominion’s Cove Point liquefaction project, located on the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, Maryland, last month received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to introduce fuel gas, signaling the start of commissioning activities, a precursor to start-up activities for the liquefaction train itself. Dominion also last November applied for permission from the Department of Energy to export up to 250 Bcf of LNG during pre-commercial operations starting as early as fourth-quarter 2017, and is awaiting a response. Once operational, the facility, which is located within just a few hundred miles of the Marcellus/Utica shales — will have access to one of the primary southbound pipeline corridors for Marcellus/Utica takeaway capacity and add nearly 0.8 Bcf/d of demand to the Northeast gas market. Today we provide a detailed look at the Cove Point LNG facility.
Cove Point’s liquefaction project — a single-train facility with a nameplate capacity of 5.25-million ton per annum (MTPA) — is poised to be the second LNG export terminal to come online in the contiguous United States, following Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG, which first began exporting cargoes in February 2016. Cove Point also will be the first export train on the East Coast. Like Sabine Pass, the Cove Point liquefaction project is a brownfield project, meaning it is being built at an existing facility with a long history of LNG import and regasification. The terminal was originally designed to regasify imported LNG and move it into the U.S. gas pipeline system to serve regional demand. Figure 1 shows a map of the existing LNG facility and interconnecting pipelines.