LNG export port at Jacksonville?

Why are Jaxport tenants buying LNG ships and a company that already has an LNG export license? And why is Jaxport so interested in becoming a major player in natural gas? All reports agree this liquid natural gas (LNG) facility is for supplying methane-fueled trucks and buses, and some say its gas will come from a pipeline. But are trucks and buses really the only destination for that pipelined gas, or is it also intended for export, as the U.S. House subcommittee chaired by Ted Poe of Houston (home of Spectra Energy) recently advocated at great length?

Timothy Gibbons wrote for Jacksonville Busines Journal 31 October 2013, LNG plant puts Jacksonville at head of ‘tsunami’ of alternative fuel growth,

Clean Energy Fuel Corp’s plans for a liquid natural gas plant in Jacksonville puts the city “at the beginning of the tsunami,” as the alternative fuel becomes more common in the transportation industry.

The plant — the first on the Eastern seaboard focused on supplying the transportation industry — should be completed by the end of 2015, said Clean Energy Regional Sales Manager David Mizerowski, who discussed the project during an alternative fuels expo put on by the North Florida TPO on Thursday.

Here’s another reason not to use “alternative energy” anymore. The fossil fuel industry has corrupted that term to include “natural” gas produced by fracking, trying to weasel it in alongside solar and wind power. Let’s call solar and wind what they are: renewable energy. And methane from fracking is not renewable; it’s another dirty fossil fuel, dirtier than most in how it is produced, and dirtier in greenhouse effects than CO2 when it leaks, as it does all the time from wells and pipelines, and soon also from trucks and buses if this scheme goes through.

The plant will be supplied by pipeline gas from TECO Peoples Gas. The gas is then cooled down to minus-260 degree Fahrenheit, after which it can be delivered in cryogenically cooled tankers.

Really? So how about what Nate Monroe wrote for the Florida Times-Union 3 November 2013, Jacksonville port hopeful of role in natural gas,

Clean Energy, co-founded by Texas billionaire and energy magnate T. Boone Pickens, says that potential made Jacksonville a natural fit for its first-of-its kind plant, which the company expects to complete in late 2015….

At a meeting of the North Florida Logistics Advisory Group only two weeks ago, JaxPort officials and local business leaders stressed the importance of making the port a major player in a natural-gas industry that is soaring in the United States.

“This is what we need,” said George Gabel, who heads the Logistics Advisory Group, which works with the Port Authority and other entities to boost international trade. “The reason that a company would be attracted to Jacksonville is that the demand [for natural gas] is already here.”

Indeed, some of the port’s major tenants are diving into the natural-gas industry.

Sea Star Line has ordered two LNG-powered cargo container ships. Those vessels are under construction and are expected to be delivered in 2015.

In May, Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corp. purchased Carib Energy, which has a U.S. Department of Energy license for the export of liquefied natural gas.

Amelia Smith, Crowley’s corporate communications manager, said the company has not yet ordered any LNG-powered ships, though one of its subsidiaries, Seattle-based Jensen Maritime, has begun designing LNG-powered vessels for customers.

Even more explicitly, Roger Bull wrote for the Florida Times-Union 29 October 2013, Clean Energy Fuels to build first-of-its-kind plant in Jacksonville,

Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2014 and be completed in late 2015. The announcement comes at a time when JaxPort officials are looking to take the lead in LNG exports.

“We know that the shipping industry is going to alternative fuels,” said JaxPort spokeswoman Nancy Rubin. “We know that at least one of our biggest customers has already ordered LNG-powered ships and that means they’re going to have to have fuel to power those ships.”

Sea Star Line has ordered two LNG-powered cargo container ships. Those vessels are currently under construction and are expected to be delivered in 2015.

“Our role is really to facilitate the work of the shipping industry. If the shipping industry needs LNG fuel, we at the port want to make sure it’s accessible to them,” Rubin said.

How small a set is it from fueling LNG-powered ships to using ships to export LNG to India and China?

Rubin was apparently talking about Sea Star Lines, which is the company building LNG-powered ships. But what about Crowley Maritime Corp.? Timothy Gibbons wrote for Jacksonville Business Journal 29 October 2013, Bloomberg: LNG terminal in works for Jacksonville’s port

Earlier this year, petroleum shipper Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corp. bought a company that supplies the fuel to Caribbean industries, giving it an export license for LNG and a book of customers to open shop as an LNG transporter.

And Crowley crows about it in their Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Overview:

Crowley is now providing valuable LNG services to a wide variety of industrial customers throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Central America. Working closely with subsidiary Carib Energy, Crowley can now offer a comprehensive and diverse suite of LNG services that including vessel design and construction; transportation; product sales and distribution, and full-scale, project management solutions.

Carib Energy is the first company to receive a small scale, 25-year, LNG export license from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for LNG transportation from the U.S. into Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries. Download a copy of our license here:

Carib Energy Free Trade Agreement (FTA) License (PDF)

Does anyone have any doubts left that Jaxport will soon be an LNG export terminal?

-jsq