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Rio Grande LNG Set for Dredge and Dock Work by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock

Posted on July 31, 2023

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. is expecting to start this year work on the Rio Grande LNG export terminal project in Texas.

It announced this week it had received the notice to proceed with the NextDecade Corp. project, which is planned to open to traffic 2027.

“The work includes deepening the entrance channel to the western end of the RGLNG property also known as Phase 1 of the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvements”, Houston city-based Great Lakes said in a press release. “This also includes the development of two ship berths and turning basin for the Rio Grande LNG facility.

“This project will enhance commercial navigation into and out of the Port of Brownsville and ensure the safe and reliable access of LNG carriers to the Rio Grande LNG facility.”

Great Lakes, which claims to be the biggest provider of dredging services in the USA, noted the contract is the largest in its history, but did not disclose the award value.

The work involves the Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Brownsville, and would “benefit the navigation interests and allows for future development” of the port, Great Lakes president and chief executive Lasse Petterson said in a statement.

NextDecade earlier in the month announced the final investment decision on Rio Grande LNG’s first phase, earmarking $18.4 billion.

The initial development “is the largest greenfield energy project financing in U.S. history and underscores the critical role that LNG and natural gas will continue to play in the global energy transition”, NextDecade said in a media statement July 12. “Industry experts expect a global shortfall of LNG before 2030, which if not addressed by projects such as RGLNG, may result in a prolonged reliance on other more carbon intensive fuels such as coal and oil.”

Simultaneously it announced the awarding of the construction right to Bechtel Energy Inc.

“Phase 1, with nameplate liquefaction capacity of 17.6 MTPA [million metric tons per annum], has 16.2 MTPA of long-term binding LNG sale and purchase agreements with TotalEnergies, Shell NA LNG LLC, ENN LNG Pte Ltd, Engie S.A., ExxonMobil LNG Asia Pacific, Guangdong Energy Group, China Gas Hongda Energy Trading Co., Galp Trading S.A. and Itochu Corporation”, NextDecade said.

TotalEnergies chair and chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement, “LNG from this first phase will boost TotalEnergies U.S. LNG export capacity to over 15 MTPA by 2030, and thus our ability to contribute to European gas security, and to provide customers in Asia with an alternative form of energy that is half as emissive as coal”.

At full operation Rio Grande LNG’s capacity would be enough to heat and cool the equivalent of nearly 34 million households yearly, according to NextDecade.

“Rio Grande LNG is the FIRST AND ONLY U.S. LNG project offering CO2 emissions reduction of more than 90 percent via planned carbon capture and storage – capturing and permanently storing more than 5 million metric tonnes [metric tons] of CO2 per year, equivalent to removing more than one million vehicles from the road annually”, the owner says on its website.


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