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1st shipment of LNG from small Fla. facility heads to Puerto Rico

The first shipment of LNG from a small gas liquefaction facility near Jacksonville, Fla., will go to Puerto Rico via shipping container.

Florida-based Crowley Maritime Corp. loaded its first tank container with nearly 11,000 gallons of LNG produced at Eagle LNG Partners' facility, according to a March 28 news release. The LNG was first placed into an independent system operator container and driven to the Port of Jacksonville, where it was loaded onto a ship and will now go to support customers in Puerto Rico.

"This LNG plant is the embodiment of Crowley and Eagle LNG's commitment to the community in the North Florida region and Puerto Rico," Eagle LNG Partners President Sean Lalani said in the release. "Having the first commercial load sold to Crowley for routing through the Port of Jacksonville to Puerto Rico is only appropriate."

Eagle LNG has federal authorization to export 0.01 Bcf/d of natural gas to any country not prohibited by U.S. law or policy. Unlike larger LNG export terminals that load liquefied gas into massive tankers specifically designed to carry the supercooled fuel, Eagle LNG's product is intended to be shipped in containers that can transport freight via truck, rail or ship.

Puerto Rico is facing a slow recovery after Hurricane Maria led to the longest blackout in U.S. history. Larger export projects are unable to send gas to the island due to a nearly century-old law, the Jones Act, that requires ships sent between U.S. ports be built, owned and crewed by Americans. The Trump administration waived the act for Puerto Rico following the hurricane, but that waiver expired in October 2017.

Small-scale LNG exports like those from the Jacksonville facility have gotten a boost from lawmakers who say the shipments will support energy needs in Caribbean and Latin American countries that are otherwise forced to rely on Cuba and Venezuela. The U.S. Department of Energy is weighing a rule that would issue automatic authorization to export LNG to any country as long as the volume does not exceed 0.14 Bcf/d and the proposal did not require an extensive environmental review from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.