A company planning a liquefied natural gas terminal in North Jacksonville had a warm reception Wednesday night from a small audience interested in the project’s potential business impacts.
“If they do what they say, it will be a real benefit,” said David Bruderly, an engineer who said he likes the idea of a terminal that could supply fuel to both ships and trucks.
The company pushing the terminal, Eagle LNG Partners, is planning a holding tank that can contain 900,000 gallons of liquefied gas on 197 acres along Zoo Parkway, a road known for most of its length as Heckscher Drive.
The gas, routed to the terminal from an existing pipeline, would be super-cooled to a temperature of 260 degrees below zero to condense it for easy storage.
The terminal west of the Broward River near Drummond Creek is largely designed to export LNG to relatively small overseas markets such as Caribbean islands. It could also fuel ships traveling between East Coast ports and provide gas to businesses trying to switch to trucks that don’t need diesel or gasoline.
The open-house Wednesday at Highlands Middle School was the first of two that terminal planners have scheduled. The second will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Jacksonville Zoo’s Samburu Conference Room at 370 Zoo Parkway.
The meeting drew only a relative handful of North Jacksonville residents, but the thinking behind the terminal could become truly important to Jacksonville, said Alan Mosley, vice president of transportation, energy and logistics for JAX Chamber. The city is becoming “a hub for the Southeast” for business investment in LNG projects, Mosley said, noting that two shipping companies important to Jacksonville – Sea Star and Crowley – last year ordered LNG-powered cargo ships and other companies have taken early steps to get involved in natural gas.
There’s a real need for businesses that can employ blue-collar workers, and the terminal could be a small step toward meeting some of that need, said Al Ferraro, a North Jacksonville resident running for the City Council’s District 2 seat.
If permitting moves quickly, construction of the terminal could start in the summer of 2016.