To meet shrinking supply of domestic natural gas, Sempra Energy International developed the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal on the Western Coast of North America. The $1 billion port and processing facility is located on a 100-acres site along rugged coastline. The facility offloads LNG to two large storage tanks, converts it back to gas, and transports the gas via pipeline to the southwestern U.S.
An accelerated schedule for this project was required, as only one of five competing sites would be permitted by the Mexican government. Crucial to this schedule was completing difficult offshore and onshore investigations and passing several independent technical reviews. Additionally, there were limited drilling platforms in the western U.S. to provide shallow and deeper water explorations in rough seas. Finally, permits were required from multiple Mexican agencies not accustomed to this type of exploration.
Kleinfelder performed a geotechnical investigation and construction phase oversight for this six-year project. For the drilling platform, Kleinfelder retrofitted a 60-meter local barge with 8-point mooring, hired multiple subcontractors, and facilitated import and export of equipment into Mexico. The investigation included landslide studies; fault evaluations and seismic modeling; onshore and offshore borings; seafloor cone penetration tests; fault trenching; an offshore bathymetric survey; and jet-probes in the surf and beach zone, among other activity.
A lack of agency review comments on our investigation was critical to becoming the only permitted facility, enabling construction to proceed on schedule. Our landslide studies negated previous landslide theories that would have stopped development, and our fault evaluations enabled the facility to meet high regulatory standards without impacting design.