NextDecade updates on Rio Grande LNG site preparation work

US LNG terminal developer NextDecade and compatriot engineering and construction giant Bechtel are moving forward with early work to prepare the Rio Grande site located in the Port of Brownsville, Texas.

NextDecade is targeting a positive final investment decision (FID) on the first three trains of the Rio Grande LNG export project during the first quarter of 2023, with FIDs of its remaining trains to follow thereafter.

The full project would include five trains with a capacity of 27 mtpa.

NextDecade recently signed a supply deal for the Rio Grande project with Itochu, the company’s first LNG customer from Japan.

Besides this contract, NextDecade signed deals with Portugal’s Galp, compatriot ExxonMobil, China’s ENN, Guangdong Energy, China Gas, and France’s Engie.

The US LNG firm has lump-sum turnkey EPC contracts with Bechtel for the LNG export project.

In September last year, NextDecade and Bechtel amended each of the Trains 1 and 2 EPC agreement and the Train 3 EPC deal.

The firm estimates the lump-sum EPC cost for the first three trains to reach at least $11.4 billion, but this will probably be higher.

NextDecade and Bechtel progress Rio Grande LNG early work
Preparation of test pile area ST-3 (Image: NextDecade)

Preparation work

Prior to FID, NextDecade issued a limited notice to proceed to Bechtel last year to begin ramping up its personnel and initiate site preparation work at the Rio Grande LNG site.

According to a monthly construction reported filed with the US FERC, the focus in January was to continue the deep material mixing (DMM) testing program at pad #1 (DPPT‐1) and pad #2 (DPPT‐2).

Testing activities related to DMM included deep soil mixing, core sampling and reaction beam fabrication/installation to support future DMM load testing, NextDecade said.

Other activities for the month included temporary land clearing at test pile locations, onsite surveys, stockpiling of topsoil, chipping of organic materials, and the monitoring of
environmental controls.

For the month of February, the DMM testing program at DPPT‐1 and DPPT‐2 will continue.

Most of the ongoing effort will focus on DMM reaction test beam installations to support DMM load testing, the report said.

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