Skip to Content


Freeport-McMoRan Energy LLC Main Pass Energy Hub Liquefied Natural Gas Deepwater Port License Application

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble


Coast Guard, DHS; and Maritime Administration, DOT.


Notice of application.


The Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) give notice, as required by the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended, that they have received an application for the licensing of a deepwater port, and that the application appears to contain the required information. This notice summarizes the applicant's plans and the procedures that will be followed in considering the application.


Any public hearing held in connection with this application must be held no later than February 4, 2005, and it would be announced in the Federal Register. A decision on the application must be made within 90 days after the last public hearing held on the application.


You may submit comments identified by Coast Guard docket number USCG-2004-17696 to the Docket Management Facility at the U.S. Department of Transportation. To avoid duplication, please use only one of the following methods:

(1) Web site:

(2) Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

(3) Fax: 202-493-2251.

(4) Delivery: Room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

(5) Federal eRulemaking Portal:

Start Further Info


If you have questions on this notice, call Mr. Kenneth Smith at 202-267-0578, or e-mail at If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Andrea M. Jenkins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-0271.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


Public Participation and Request for Comments

You may submit comments concerning this application. All comments received will be posted, without change, to and will include any personal information you have provided. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use their Docket Management Facility. Please see DOT's “Privacy Act” paragraph below.

Submitting comments: If you submit a comment, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2004-17696), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. You may submit your comments and material by electronic means, mail, fax, or delivery to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES; but please submit your comments and material by only one means. If you submit them by mail or delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they Start Printed Page 32364reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.

Viewing comments and documents: To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to at any time and conduct a simple search using the docket number. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in room PL-401 on the Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Privacy Act: Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review the Department of Transportation's Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit

Receipt of application; determination. On February 27, 2004, the Coast Guard and MARAD received an application from Freeport-McMoRan Energy LLC (FME), 1615 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112 for all federal authorizations required for a license to own, construct and operate a deepwater port off the coast of Louisiana. Supplemental information was furnished at our request on May 10, 2004. On May 24, 2004, we determined that the application contains all information required by the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1501 et seq. (the Act). The application and related documentation supplied by the applicant (except for certain protected information specified in 33 U.S.C. 1513) will be available in the public docket (see ADDRESSES).

Background. According to the Act, a deepwater port is a fixed or floating manmade structure other than a vessel, or a group of structures, located beyond State seaward boundaries and used or intended for use as a port or terminal for the transportation, storage, and further handling of oil or natural gas for transportation to any State.

A deepwater port must be licensed, and the Act provides that a license applicant submit detailed plans for its facility to the Secretary of Transportation, along with its application. The Secretary has delegated the processing of deepwater port applications to the U.S. Coast Guard and MARAD. The Act allows 21 days following receipt of the application to determine if it contains all required information. If it does, we must publish a notice of application in the Federal Register and summarize the plans. This notice is intended to meet those requirements of the Act and to provide general information about the procedure that will be followed in considering the application.

Application procedure. The application is considered on its merits. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project. Under the Act, we must hold at least one public hearing within 240 days from the date this notice is published. A separate Federal Register notice will be published to notify interested parties of any public hearings that are held. At least one public hearing must be held in each adjacent coastal state. Pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 1508, we designate Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi as adjacent coastal states for this application. Other states may apply for adjacent coastal state status in accordance with 33 U.S.C. 1508(a)(2). After the last public hearing, Federal agencies have 45 days in which to comment on the application, and approval or denial of the application must follow within 90 days of the last public hearing. Details of the application process are described in 33 U.S.C. 1504 and in 33 CFR part 148.

Summary of the application. The application plan calls for the proposed deepwater port to be located in the Gulf of Mexico on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), approximately 16 miles offshore southeast Louisiana in Main Pass Block 299. It will be located in a water depth of approximately 210 feet (64 meters). The proposed location is a former sulphur mining facility. The project would utilize four existing platforms, along with associated bridges and support structures, with appropriate modifications and additions as part of the deepwater port. Two new platforms will be constructed to support liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tanks, and a patent-pending berthing system to berth the LNG carriers will be installed.

FME proposes the installation of approximately 192 miles of natural gas and natural gas liquid (NGL) transmission pipelines on the OCS, varying in size ranging from 12 to 36 inches in diameter. Five proposed pipelines would connect the deepwater port with several existing gas distribution pipelines, one of which would connect with a gas distribution pipeline near Coden, Alabama. NGL derived from natural gas conditioning (i.e. ethane, propane, and butanes) would be delivered via a 12-inch pipeline to an existing NGL facility near Venice, Louisiana. A proposed metering platform is to be installed at Main Pass 164 and would also provide a tie-in location for two lateral transmission lines.

The proposed project will sit atop a salt dome, approximately 2 miles in diameter. An on-site total gas storage capacity of approximately 28 billion cubic feet would be provided in three salt caverns to be constructed under the deepwater port.

The deepwater port facility would consist of LNG storage tanks, LNG carrier berthing provisions, LNG unloading arms, low and high pressure pumps, vaporizers, a gas conditioning plant, salt cavern gas storage, compression, dehydration, metering, utility systems, general facilities and accommodations. The terminal would be able to receive LNG carriers ranging in capacity between 60,000 and 160,000 cubic meters. LNG would be stored in six tanks located on two new fixed platforms. Each tank would have an approximate gross capacity of 24,660 cubic meters, for a total net capacity of approximately 145,000 cubic meters. Four unloading arms would be provided to offload the LNG carriers at a rate of 10,500 to 12,000 cubic meters per hour. The facility would have living quarters to routinely accommodate up to 50 personnel, but would be capable of accommodating up to 94 personnel for brief periods.

FME Main Pass Energy Hub would be designed to handle a nominal capacity of 7.0 million metric tons per year of LNG, or 350 billion cubic feet per year of gas. This is equivalent to an average delivery of approximately 1.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd). The facility would be capable of delivering a peak of 1.6 bcfd of pipeline-quality natural gas during periods of high demand, and a peak of 85,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquid.

Start Signature

Dated: June 2, 2004.

J. G. Lantz,

Acting Director of Standards, Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection, U.S. Coast Guard.

End Signature Start Signature

H. Keith Lesnick,

Senior Transportation Specialist, Deepwater Ports Program Manager, U.S. Maritime Administration.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 04-12965 Filed 6-8-04; 8:45 am]