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Sempra Mulls Bigger LNG Terminal in Baja California

Sempra Energy sees a bigger role for the liquefied natural gas terminal it is building on the coast of Baja California north of Ensenada.

The company announced plans to expand the capacity of its Energia Costa Azul terminal, and notified suppliers they could submit bids on that new capacity during April and May.

Business interests in Australia, Malaysia, the Middle East, Japan and South Korea may take Sempra up on the offer, according to a Bloomberg News report.

San Diego-based Sempra announced the bidding season on March 13.

The company said it is 30 percent done with the terminal, an $800 million project that will be able to receive 1 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, per day. Completion is planned for 2008.

With the expansion, the terminal could take in 2.5 billion cubic feet per day. Pending market interest and regulatory approvals, the expansion could be in operation by 2010.

Liquefied natural gas is shipped at minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, it occupies 600 times less volume than it does in a gaseous state. At the receiving terminal, LNG is unloaded and stored until it is vaporized back into natural gas and moved via pipelines to customers.

, Brad Graves

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