Cove Point LNG is located on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland. (Credit: Sumitomo Corporation)
The facility has a storage capacity of 14.6 billion cubic feet (BCF) and a daily send-out capacity of 1.8BCF. (Credit: © ---=XEON=---/ Wikipedia)
The location of Cove Point LNG. (Credit: US Energy Information Administration/ Sumitomo Corporation)

Cove Point LNG is an import, export and liquefaction facility located near Lusby, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland, south of Washington DC, in the US.

The facility occupies an area of 131 acres out of 1,000-acre site on the Chesapeake Bay. It is operated by BHE GT&S, a business unit of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Cove Point LNG is connected to major Mid-Atlantic gas transmission systems and has a storage capacity of 14.6 billion cubic feet (BCF) and a daily send-out capacity of 1.8BCF.

The project initially started LNG import operations in 1978. However, the operations ceased in 1980 due to increase in gas prices. Construction of the liquefaction facility began in October 2014, and the first LNG cargo that was produced for export was shipped in March 2018.

Cove Point LNG Ownership

US-based power and energy company Dominion Energy acquired Cove Point LNG from Williams in 2002.

In November 2020, Berkshire Hathaway Energy acquired a 25% stake in the facility as part of a larger transaction. It also took over the operatorship of Cove Point with the closure of the deal.

In July 2023, Berkshire Hathaway Energy executed an agreement to purchase Dominion Energy’s 50% partnership stake in the Cove Point LNG. The deal closed in September 2023.

The $3.3bn transaction gave Berkshire Hathaway Energy a total ownership interest of 75% in the asset. The remaining 25% limited partnership interest in Cove Point LNG is with a subsidiary of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.

Cove Point LNG Infrastructure

The project includes seven storage tanks, out of which four were placed into operation in 1978, one was placed in service in 2004, and another in 2008. The GE Frame 3 and Solar Titan combustion turbines are used by the existing LNG export facility.

The facilities at Cove Point LNG include one LNG liquefaction train consisting of gas treatment equipment, natural gas-fired turbine-driven refrigerant compressors, waste heat recovery systems, fire and gas detection and safety systems, and control systems.

After expansion, the Cove Point facility includes infrastructure to perform all the functions of an LNG facility, including import, export, vaporization, and liquefaction.

Cove Point Expansion

In 2009, Dominion completed an expansion project that increased Cove Point’s storage and production capacity by nearly 80%. The gas is transported via a pipeline to the new export complex, from where it will be shipped abroad.

After expansion, the facility’s send-out capacity increased from 1 billion standard cubic foot per day (SCFD) to 1.8 billion SCFD and nearly doubled storage capacity from 7.8 billion cubic feet (BCF) to 14.6BCF of natural gas.

The new liquefaction facilities have an LNG production and export capacity of up to 5.75 million metric tonnes per year (MMTPA) of natural gas and include a new 130MW combined cycle generating station.

The expansion includes upgrading loading and offloading facilities. The Cove Point shipping dock is located about 1.4 miles from the plant’s storage tanks and is connected by pipes in an underwater tunnel. LNG is shipped to Cove Point’s offshore dock on specially designed LNG transport ships. The LNG is pumped from ships to insulated storage tanks via a series of pipes.

The terminal also connects to the major Mid-Atlantic gas transmission systems of the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, Columbia Gas Transmission, and Dominion Energy Transmission via its pipeline.

Offtake Agreements

The Project has long-term contracts with Gail India and a joint venture involving Japan’s Sumitomo and Tokyo Gas.

In February 2014, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas established the joint venture company ST Cove Point to carry out contracted natural gas liquefaction processing and LNG sales for the Cove Point Project.

ST Cove Point procures natural gas from Pacific Summit Energy (PSE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation, and liquefies it at the Cove gas liquefaction plant. It will export approximately 2.3 million tonnes per year (MTPA) of the produced LNG annually for 20 years.

According to the Heads of Agreement concluded with Sumitomo Corporation, 1.4MTPA is to be delivered to TG Plus, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tokyo Gas, and 0.8MTPA to Kansai Electric Power via Sumitomo Corporation.

Contractors Involved

In March 2010, Cashman Dredging was contracted to mechanically remove 110,000 cubic yards of silt and sand material as well as provide pier and revetment wall reinforcement.

Audubon served as the owner’s engineer and managed the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for all phases of the Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

In April 2013, GE Oil & Gas received contracts to supply gas compression trains for Cove Point LNG in Lusby. Under the contract, GE supplied two Frame 7EA DLN1 (Dry Low NOx) gas turbine packages to drive the GE refrigeration compressors.

In April 2013, a joint venture (JV) comprising IHI E&C International Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IHI Corporation, and Kiewit Energy Company entered into an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract to develop a 5.25MMTPA LNG export facility. The project expansion allows Cove Point to access international markets for the Marcellus and Utica shale fields.

Kiewit’s scope of work included tie-ins to the existing facility, including 678 EA 24- to 60-inch drilled shafts for various soundwall, equipment, and pipe rack foundation, relocating existing infrastructure to accommodate the expansion, and adding a 130MW power plant.

McDermott was awarded a contract for the Cove LNG expansion project. The company’s scope of work included 800 million standard cubic feet per day (SCFD) regasification and send-out process equipment, gas turbine generation, and two 160,000 cubic meter LNG storage tanks.

McDermott is also responsible for the development of new administration, control and maintenance buildings, and ancillary systems.