CLP Power says project will open city up to additional source of gas supply and help meet post-2020 fuel mix requirements
CLP Power is eyeing the eastern waters of the Soko Islands, off southern Lantau, for a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal that will enable it to tap more gas from international markets.
This will come nearly a decade after it shelved a land-based version of the project in the southern Sokos despite government approval. A 25-year gas deal with the mainland was signed instead.
The project will help it meet new requirements for half of the city’s electricity needs to come from natural gas after 2020.
CLP, which supplies Lantau, Kowloon and the New Territories, remains tight-lipped on details such as costs and tariff implications, but said the facility would provide the city with additional sources of gas at more competitive market prices and spread out price risks.
CLP’s gas is now piped from Central Asia via the Second West-East Gas Pipeline as part of the contract with the mainland and from the depleting Yacheng gas field near Hainan. As a result,it has little bargaining power over prices.
HK Electric, which supplies Hong Kong and Lamma, obtains Australian and Qatari gas via an LNG receiving terminal in Dapeng, Shenzhen.
“If we don’t have another source…we will have to continue to buy gas from the mainland and our bargaining power will remain weak,” said CLP senior director Edward Chiu On-tin.
The offshore facility, spanning less than a hectare in size, will likely handle about 30 to 50 carriers a year. LNG transferred to the terminal will be converted back into gas and piped to Black Point Power Station in Tuen Mun for use in power generation.
While 22 such terminals are already in operation worldwide, Chiu admitted such a project would be first for Hong Kong. “We will have to consult the Town Planning Board and the Marine Department” on planning and regulation matters, Chiu said.
The company will be submitting a project brief to the Environmental Protection Department in due course.
From there, an environmental impact assessment will be conducted, which will address issues such as impacts on the planned Soko Islands and Southwest Lantau marine parks. Chiu expected “temporary impacts” during the construction phase, but did not foresee any major ecological harm in the long-run as no land reclamation was required.
Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Dr Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said the project did indeed have a smaller footprint than the original land-based project, but posed the same environmental challenges.
“The main facility is located in key habitat used by the finless porpoise and undersea gas pipes are likely to pass through other marine parks around Lantau.”
WWF-Hong Kong’s Samantha Lee mei-wah said regasification – a process which involves pumping seawater to heat the LNG back into gas form – could disrupt fisheries. “This freezing water is discharged and the sudden reduction in seawater temperatures can harm marine life,” she said.
CLP says other locations are being considered, but the waters east of the Soko Islands will remain a “high priority” option.
Energy Advisory Committee member Dr William Yu Yuen-ping said the facility would provide Hong Kong with cheaper gas, but would likely be an expensive fixed asset with a long payback period.
The Environment Bureau said it would review the plan upon receiving CLP’s project proposal.
Source URL: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/1935188/hong-kong-electric-company-plans-floating-lng