Dominion Pipes Gas Out from Cove Point, Continues Construction of Liquefaction Facility

Water vapor rises in the background as site preparation work continues at Cove Point LNG despite the cold weather on Friday. The water vapor was from the equipment turning LNG into its gas state to be put in the pipeline to meet increased demand this winter. The current number of construction workers and support staff is at 480 but is expected to climb to 1,500 later this year as the pace of the project picks up and gets beyond site preparation./Photo by Darwin Weigel
Water vapor rises in the background as site preparation work continues at Cove Point LNG despite the cold weather. The water vapor was the result of converting LNG to its gas state./Photo by Darwin Weigel

Note: Cove Point LNG has been dormant as an import facility since 2011. Its function then was to offload liquefied natural gas (LNG) from tankers which originated in Algeria, and pipe it into the seven massive storage tanks. The supercooled and pressurized LNG would then be re-gasified in order to travel through pipelines.

The current conversion into an export facility will reverse the process, converting gas into a liquefied state–a highly energy intensive process–and pipe it onto tankers for transport to India and Japan.

A few clarifications to the article  below: The 900 mcf gas which was transported out on “gas day” was apparently converted from LNG left over in the storage tanks since the terminal was active. That’s about 6% of the tanks’ total storage capacity of 14.6 bcf.

A 20-foot sound wall has been constructed of wood, and the article states that it will be replaced ultimately with a 60-foot permanent sound wall. The purpose of this permanent structure has been debated extensively. Dominion says that it will blunt the sound produced by the liquefaction train and power generation plant. At times Dominion has said that it is both a sound barrier and a protective barrier to contain any industrial accident on-site, while at other times Dominion has denied that the wall has anything to do with safety.

Nearby residents contend that the main purpose of the wall is to contain accidents, but it would be grossly insufficient to meet the hazards of an LNG facility, especially in the event of an ignitable vapor cloud.

Documents submitted to FERC show that acoustic tiles are not going to be installed on the wall as originally planned, and its intended purpose is to be a protective barrier.

The article mentions that Dominion’s contractor IHI/Kiewitt has met with several local companies interested in work relating to the project. One local business owner claims that Dominion is not honoring its promise to give priority to Calvert County business when awarding contracts.

Dominion sends out natural gas, continues export project work
Businesses still sought for contracted services

By Sarah Fleischman, Calvert Recorder

For the first time since 2011, Dominion Cove Point is supplying imported natural gas commercially. While the plant converts it from liquefied natural gas to feed into the pipeline, construction to do just the opposite is bustling away at the terminal in Lusby.

Almost 500 workers are currently completing grading and stormwater management projects to support the construction of the $3.8 billion liquefaction facility, which will enable the company to liquefy natural gas produced in the United States and sell it to companies in India and Japan.

From the “gas day” from 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, to 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 20, Dominion Cove Point sent out 900 million cubic feet of natural gas, enough to heat more than 3 million homes for one day, said Mike Frederick, vice president of LNG operations.

This is where stormwater runoff will eventually be routed to a pond outside the industrial site and eventually to Grays Creek and the Chesapeake Bay. The stormwater system is being beefed up and reworked to accommodate the added export function of the site.
stormwater runoff will eventually be routed to a pond outside the industrial site and to Grays Creek and the Chesapeake Bay. /Photo by Darwin Weigel

And more than natural gas is leaving the terminal. So far, 6,000 truckloads of soil have been removed from the site for grading purposes, said Bob McKinley, vice president of Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gas construction. Some areas where equipment for the export facility will be built aren’t level. In one area, the ground must be built up 30 to 40 feet, while in others, earth must be removed.

“We are doing a lot of earthwork,” McKinley said.

The soil removed from the site goes to either the Appeal Landfill or the company’s Offsite Area A across from Cove Point Road on Route 2/4. Some of it has been saved on site to use for the fill-in work to be done.

As much of the work currently being performed involves earthwork, the facility has a truck washing station at the construction area exit so mud isn’t tracked onto Cove Point Road. If residents complain about the road conditions, those complaints are reported to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, McKinley said, and Dominion reports what was done to solve the problem.

A temporary 20-foot wood sound wall has been erected to contain the noise of construction at the Cove Point LNG plant. The permanent 60-foot wall will be built just inside the current wall before the temporary one is torn down.
A temporary 20-foot wood sound wall has been erected./ Photo by Darwin Weigel

A temporary 20-foot sound wall is complete and will stay in place until the permanent 60-foot wall is constructed, McKinley said. The 60-foot wall will reach to about the top of the trees bordering the facility.

All of the plant’s stormwater will be directed to two ponds on site and then into Grays Creek, Frederick said. A total of four warehouse buildings will be demolished to make room for the export facility activities, one of which has been demolished, and the concrete foundations will be used in artificial reef construction in the Chesapeake Bay, he said.

In the coming weeks, 4,000 piles will be installed where compression and combustion turbines will go. The 16- to 20-inch-wide piles will have concrete on top of them and the equipment will be attached to the concrete, McKinley said.

A stormwater containment pond is being expanded and reworked to handle the increased runoff expected with the addition of new the export equipment sites. In the background are some of the current liquefied natural gas storage tanks.
A stormwater containment pond is being expanded and reworked to handle the increased runoff expected./Photo by Darwin Weigel

At the Offsite Area A, several warehouses have been constructed and in the next month, a modular office complex will be built, McKinley said. All of the structures at this offsite area are temporary and will be removed once the project is complete, said Karl Neddenien, Dominion Cove Point spokesman.

Dominion continues meetings with contractors

Dominion’s contractor for the export project, IHI/Kiewit, has met several times with local companies interested in contracts. Most of the procurement has been completed already, McKinley said during a meeting Thursday morning at the College of Southern Maryland Prince Frederick campus.

The remaining procurement to be done includes barging/barge cranes, marine shuttle support, fencing, guardrail, equipment rental and service, fuel and oil providers, office janitorial services, geotechnical assistance, sanitary services, environmental consultants and catering, according to Thursday’s presentation.

“We would like to see local businesses benefit from the project,” McKinley said Thursday.

Companies looking to get contracts for the project must register online at 1covepoint.com, which is the most direct line of communication with the job, said Randy Marshall, procurement director for the Dominion Cove Point project. The team will reach out to registered companies as opportunities arise, Marshall said. More than 500 entities have registered and about a third of those have been invited to bid on contracts.

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