Black & Veatch Corporation

Gas Import Terminal


Courtesy of Black & Veatch Corporation

B&V Energy is the consortium leader for North America's first Pacific coast terminal accepting LNG from suppliers and converting and piping it at a savings to U.S. and Mexican companies.

Only a 90-minute drive south from San Diego, the warm climate and sunny beaches of Ensenada, Mexico, are a popular draw for tourists. In 2008, the beaches of Ensenada will become home to another crucial source of economic support, North America's first Pacific coast natural gas terminal, Energía Costa Azul.

Mexico alone consumes 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, and with the U.S. rate of consumption approximately 11 times that of Mexico, it is easy to understand how prices can see dramatic fluctuations based on the availability of supply.

To help insulate consumers in California and Mexico from the ups and downs of natural gas prices, Sempra Energy engaged a consortium, BMVT, comprised of Black & Veatch, MHI, Vinci and Techint to construct the first-of-its-kind terminal. As the consortium leader, Black & Veatch directed the design of two 17-story storage tanks, each utilizing more steel than the Eiffel Tower. As the immense structures begin to rise, so does the outlook for the region's energy future.

The Energía Costa Azul terminal represents a significant advantage over conventional methods for dispersing natural gas resources. When natural gas is cooled to a temperature of 260 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, it occupies a space less than 600 times the size it occupies in its gaseous form, allowing foreign supplies to be delivered more efficiently before it is warmed and returned to its natural state at the terminal. Once completed, Russia, Indonesia and other natural gas-rich regions will be able to transport supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the terminal in Ensenada, where it will be converted and piped to U.S. and Mexican entities.

Through the execution of the project, BMVT will employ more than 1,100 workers in the region to complete the work. Executing a project with constituencies ranging from the client and future suppliers, to consortium partners and local consumers, requires Black & Veatch's international team to manage a variety of interests. In addition to serving as the consortium leader, Black & Veatch is responsible for design, procurement and construction of the marine, unloading, processing and vaporization facilities, as well as all utilities and infrastructure.

Leading a project of this scale has allowed the Black & Veatch team to showcase its expertise in managing large, highly complex projects requiring risk-sharing strategies and partnerships. Furthermore, the project is Building a World of Difference in the region, by providing cost-effective natural gas to consumers, which in turn, will help attract business and promote economic growth.

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