The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation:
(WASHINGTON) — Acting Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda today approved the construction of a deepwater port for liquefied natural gas (LNG) off the coast of Florida.
As part of the approval agreement, officials for Port Dolphin Energy, LLC, agreed to provide employment and training opportunities to American mariners on ships using the port. The Maritime Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
â€œThis energy project is a win for Florida consumers, and for U.S. maritime workers,â€ said Transportation Secretary LaHood. â€œWe will continue our focus on creating job opportunities for American seafarers and other maritime workers.â€
The Port Dolphin facility will be located in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 28 miles southwest of Tampa Bay. Deepwater ports are offshore facilities used to transfer imported oil and natural gas from carrier vessels to shore via sub-sea pipelines. The apparatus is submerged most of the time, and is marked by a buoy. A tanker pulls the apparatus up, connects and offloads, and then, when the deepwater port is not being used, it submerges, which minimizes its environmental impact. When the Port Dolphin facility is operational, it is expected to deliver about 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to Florida facilities, with the ability to deliver up to 1,200 million cubic feet a day at peak capacity.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2013, and operations are expected to begin late that same year.