The existing Energia Costa Azul (ECA) regasification facility in Baja California, Mexico is planned to be converted into a liquefaction facility. Image courtesy of Total.
Sempra Energy is the owner and operator of the ECA LNG facility. Image courtesy of Sempra Energy.
The ECA LNG facility will have an export capacity of 2.4Mtpa in phase one.

The Energia Costa Azul (ECA) LNG export project involves the conversion of the existing regasification terminal in Baja California, Mexico into a gas liquefaction and export facility.

The LNG export terminal will be owned and operated by Energía Costa Azul (ECA) LNG, a subsidiary of US-based Sempra Energy.

The liquefaction facility is planned to be developed in two phases with the capacity of phase one expected to be 2.4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).

The US Department of Energy (DoE) authorised Sempra Energy to export natural gas from the US to Mexico as well as re-export the same in the form of LNG from the Energia Costa Azul facility to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement (non-FTA) with the US, in April 2019.

Sempra Energy is expected to reach a final investment decision (FID) on the first phase of the ECA LNG project in the second quarter of 2020, with the start of operations expected in 2023.

Sempra Energy is also involved in two major LNG projects in the US, including the Port Arthur LNG Terminal, Texas which is set to begin operations in 2023, and the recently commissioned Cameron LNG Project, Louisiana in 2020.

Location and site details 

The ECA liquefaction facility is planned to be developed on a 68-acre brownfield site adjacent to the Sempra Energy’s existing regasification terminal in Baja California, Mexico.

The existing regasification facility is located on the west coast of  Mexico, approximately 15 miles north of Ensenada and approximately 31 miles south of the border between the US and Mexico. 

ECA liquefaction plant make-up 

The Energia Costa Azul LNG processing plant will comprise a single liquefaction train of 2.4Mtpa capacity in phase one. It will utilise the propane pre-cooled mixed refrigerant (C3MR) liquefaction process technology from Air Products and Chemicals (APCI).

The LNG train will also include a gas pre-treatment unit for Mercury and acid gas removal, as well as for dehydration, natural gas liquids (NGL) removal and fractionation.

The LNG production plant will utilise the existing storage tanks and the marine berth at the site.

Phase two development will include two LNG trains of 12Mtpa of total capacity, a new storage tank, as well as one additional berth and other associated facilities at the site.

Energia Costa Azul regasification terminal 

The existing ECA regasification terminal that commenced operations in 2008 is the first LNG receipt terminal on the west coast of North America. 

It comprises a marine berth, a 75m-long, 38m-wide, 25.5m-high caisson breakwater facility, and two LNG storage tanks of 160,000m3 capacity each.

The existing facility has the capacity to regasify up to one billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas a day.

LNG purchase agreement 

Sempra Energy signed three Heads of Agreements (HOAs) with Total, Mitsui and Tokyo Gas for  20-year sales and purchase agreements for exporting a total of 2.4Mtpa of LNG from the ECA LNG phase one project in November 2018.

Contractors involved 

TechnipFMC and Kiewit were selected as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the Energia Costa Azul LNG project in June 2018.

The LNG containment tanks and the unloading dock for the existing regasification facility were built by VINCI Construction, while the breakwater facility was designed by AECOM.