Hawaii Gas receives first shipment of LNG

Published On: Apr 07 2014 06:10:05 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 08 2014 07:33:33 AM HST

Hawaii Gas has received its first shipment of liquefied natural gas as the company begins a pilot project aimed at exploring the expanded use of LNG in four to six years.

Click here to see Andrew Pereira's report.

"Our goals are to serve the entire state and all industries; to minimize the impact on our harbors and our environment and ensure reliability at the lowest cost as a regulated utility," Joseph Boivin, senior vice president for business development and corporate affairs, said Monday in a news conference with reporters.  

The initial shipment of LNG arrived last Wednesday at Honolulu's Pier 38 in a 40-foot ISO tank, which can hold 10,000 gallons of product. Because liquefied natural gas is kept at minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, it must first be re-gasified by a vaporization unit before being injected into the company's distribution pipeline.

The process to convert LNG from its liquid state into a gas is relatively simple, and Hawaii Gas said the savings to Hawaii consumers could be significant.

"The fuel-on-fuel cost savings are between 30 and 50 percent when you introduce natural gases compared to the existing diesel and fuel oil now used to produce electricity," said Boivin.    

Hawaii Gas is being allowed to ship LNG from the West Coast on a limited basis after winning approval March 6 from the Public Utilities Commission. The company spent $950,725 on three ISO containers, a trailer chassis and a trailer-mounted re-gasifier as part of the pilot project, which is providing backup to the company's supply of synthetic natural gas.

As soon as 2018, Hawaii Gas hopes to expand the use of LNG by filing a new request with the PUC and building a receiving terminal at Pearl Harbor, Barbers Point Harbor, or offshore of Barbers Point. Hawaii Gas estimates it will take eight 40-foot ISO containers to meet Oahu's daily need for natural gas.   

"In addition to backup fuel supply project, Hawaii Gas is also working with other utilities, state agencies and departments and other stakeholders to pursue the use of large-scale natural gas in Hawaii by the 2018 to 2020 time frame," said Boivin.

Liquefied natural gas produces 30 percent less carbon dioxide than oil and has a much higher ignition temperature than other fuels. Although LNG in its liquid form is not explosive, Hawaii Gas has taken several security precautions at Pier 38.

"We have security patrols and also camera surveillance on this site 24/7," said Kevin Nishimura, Hawaii Gas' director of strategic initiatives and supply.

The company currently operates 1,000 miles of pipeline on Oahu from Campbell Industrial Park to Hawaii Kai and serves nearly 28,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.


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