What is Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company, LLC?
Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company LLC (FGS) is a new company that will provide storage facilities in Florida for users of clean-burning, economical liquefied natural gas. FGS is not a power or gas distribution company, a gas importer, a natural gas producer, a gas exploration company or a gas trading company. FGS will simply rent space in its storage facility to companies that want storage service.
Where is Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company located?
Floridian Natural Gas Storage will build an above-ground natural gas storage tank and related liquefaction facilities in an industrial area northwest of Indiantown, Florida in Martin County on the 145-acre Florida Steel Superfund site.
Why do we need a natural gas storage facility in Florida?
Liquefied natural gas has been used in the United States as a safe, low-cost, low-emission alternative fuel in thousands of trucks, buses and other vehicles for more than 15 years. With the rising cost of imported oil and the low cost of domestically produced natural gas, more heavy-duty vehicles, industrial engines, marine freighters, agricultural equipment and other motors are converted to natural gas fuel every day. When stored as a liquid, the volume of natural gas reduces by about 600 times, so liquefied gas is especially useful for long-haul vehicles and in other instances when frequent refueling is inefficient or impractical. Liquefied natural gas storage in south Florida will also provide an important back-up fuel source for Florida’s electricity generators should gas supply be interrupted by a hurricane or other unexpected curtailment.
Both of Florida's natural gas supply pipelines from the Gulf Coast are nearby, allowing the gas to be delivered directly from the pipelines into storage during low-demand periods and redelivered to capacity holders when it is needed. The Indiantown Superfund site has been remediated for reuse under the direction of the federal EPA and is zoned in the County Land Use Plan for industrial facilities. The EPA has put certain future land use restrictions on this Superfund site but has approved the FGS facility as a suitable reuse for the site. Construction of the FGS facility will take a non-contributing liability and put it back into the County's useful tax base.
What is liquefied natural gas?
Natural gas is primarily made up of methane which is the "gas" primarily used in homes that is delivered through pipelines operated by gas local distribution companies. Liquefied Natural Gas is natural gas (methane) in its liquid form. Many homes in Florida also use propane or butane for heating and cooking when there are no natural gas pipelines in the area. Propane and butane are stored in small tanks under high pressure next to homes and are refilled by truck deliveries. Natural gas is the same gas used for generating electricity, cooking and space heating. For increased efficiency and to use less space natural gas is refrigerated and condensed to a liquid form to be stored. Liquefying natural gas reduces its volume by more than 600 times, making it more practical and economical to store.
How is it stored?
Liquefied natural gas is stored at more than 100 facilities in the United States and more than 200 worldwide. Liquid natural gas is stored at atmospheric pressure in specially constructed, double-walled, insulated tanks. The inner tank contains the liquefied gas, while the outer tank contains the insulation and prevents any natural gas vapor from escaping. In Indiantown, a dike surrounding the tank has been added as an additional containment component.
There are also hundreds of below-ground natural gas storage facilities across the U.S. but Florida does not have suitable geology for storage in old oil and gas fields or in salt structures.
What happens if there is a spill or leak?
The FGS project design will have a dike or retaining wall capable of containing 110% of the maximum tank's storage capacity. In the unlikely event of a release, this feature will prevent the liquefied gas from leaving the control area around the tank. Methane is not toxic and it is lighter than air, so any escaping liquid gas would evaporate, rise and dissipate harmlessly into the atmosphere leaving no residue in or on the ground. Storage facilities use advanced monitoring systems to immediately detect any liquid or natural gas leaks and have emergency shut-down (ESD) systems to isolate any such events.
Is liquefied natural gas explosive?
In its liquid state, natural gas will not explode or burn. Natural gas is only flammable within a very narrow range of concentrations with air. Outside of these concentrations (5-15% air), there is either not enough oxygen to sustain a flame or too much oxygen for the gas to ignite. For gas to burn there must be an ignition source and storage plants are designed to limit ignition sources near the natural gas equipment.
What is the safety record of liquefied natural gas facilities?
Liquefied natural gas is not a new technology; it's been in use since World War II. The industry has an excellent safety record. Over its 70-year history in the U.S., there have been only a few workplace accidents related to liquefied natural gas storage facilities and these have been the type of accident that could happen in any industrial setting.
Who regulates the storage facilities?
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the authority to approve or deny an application for siting, construction, and operation of liquefied natural gas facilities. The FGS facility must be built to the National Fire Protection Association codes and standards as interpreted by FERC and enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Other federal, local and state agencies also participate and oversee aspects of the siting, construction and operation of the facility.
What type of security measures are taken at liquefied natural gas facilities?
FERC, the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Department of Homeland Security all oversee safety and security for liquefied natural gas facilities. Since FGS does not plan to import gas or have deliveries from ships from overseas and will rely on existing pipeline transmission, security issues for this facility are not the same as for terminals which import and handle large quantities of liquefied natural gas via tankers. Regardless of the type of facility, security is taken seriously by everyone in the gas industry and includes fences, controlled access, lighting and video monitoring. Facilities are required to have a written security plan and an emergency response plan coordinated with the local authorities and to conduct extensive security training of the staff.
Once the facility is in operation, how many trucks a day do you anticipate will be loaded at FGS?
As currently configured, the highest number of tanker trucks FGS could load in a 24-hour period would be 48. In practice, the number is likely to be fewer. Highway 710 currently has more than enough capacity for the trucks we anticipate loading at our facility.