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Hopkinton LNG Liquefaction Replacement Project

We are in the commissioning stage of a Liquefaction Replacement Project at our Hopkinton Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plant.

The upgrades replace the original liquefaction equipment with new, state-of-the-art equipment that is cleaner, more efficient and easier to maintain. The LNG facility has continued to operate safely and reliably throughout the project. 

The LNG facility serves a critical role in ensuring the reliability of our local gas distribution system, storing natural gas as a liquid during the summer months when gas is most economically available. 

During the winter months, when natural gas is most expensive and at times difficult to obtain, it helps provide gas service to approximately 300,000 customers in 36 towns, stabilizing natural gas pricing and offsetting significant swings in customers' natural gas bills. The facility can provide up 42% of customer supply on the coldest days of the year. 

The facility also serves as a backup to constrained gas pipelines serving New England, allowing for a local supply of natural gas to serve customers during unexpected pipeline outages. 

Project construction began in the spring of 2019. Final commissioning is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. Once the new facilities have been proven reliable over several seasons of full operation, the original liquefaction facilities will be disassembled and removed.  

Throughout the planning process beginning in 2014 and the permitting and construction phases, we worked closely with local stakeholders and state public officials to develop and gain approval of the project by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). 

We proactively engaged with and sought feedback from the town of Hopkinton's management group, select board, conservation commission, planning board, board of health, police department, fire department, chamber of commerce and other local stakeholders.  

The project received final approval from the DPU on December 21, 2018. 

We are committed to working with the town and local residents as we continue our safe, reliable operation of this important energy facility. 

What is Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)? 

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state, at about -260° Fahrenheit, for shipping and storage. The volume of natural gas in its liquid state is about 600 times smaller than its volume in its gaseous state. This process makes it possible to transport natural gas to places pipelines do not reach and to supplement the supply of natural gas during high demand periods. 

LNG Safety  

We have substantial experience in safely operating liquified natural gas (LNG) plants and storage facilities. Our LNG facilities meet or exceed regulations and standards of the U.S Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Fire Protection Association and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. 

Eversource and local emergency responders conduct regular training and exercises designed to ensure a safe and effective response in the unlikely event of an LNG emergency.  

Will LNG Ignite? 

As a liquid, LNG cannot burn or explode. There is no oxygen in an LNG tank to allow ignition, therefore there is no possibility of a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion. 

In the unlikely event of an incident, plant systems throughout the facility are designed to mitigate any potential hazards. Gas detectors, fire detectors, smoke detectors and cryogenic temperature sensors that can automatically activate plant safety systems and notify control room operators of any potential emergency.  

How Secure is the Facility?   

This is a badged facility with a robust security system that includes 24-hour staffing, video surveillance and anti-vehicle barriers.  We work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure site security.  

Would an LNG Leak Impact the Surrounding Area?   

In the event of an LNG release, the plant is designed with multiple emergency shut down devices to limit the amount of LNG that could be released, and control the spread of LNG, allowing first responders to safely manage the incident.  

We have worked with industry experts and public safety officials to assess and ensure safe plant operations and have developed procedures and response guides to respond to any foreseeable emergency at the facility.  

Do the Tanks Need to be Replaced?   

No, the tanks are well within their operational lifespan. We continuously perform inspections and maintenance to ensure storage tank safety and reliability. The tanks are inspected regularly and remain in good condition with no concern of their continued long-term operation to serve the region's energy requirements.     

The facility has undergone significant refurbishment since 2015 and we continue to perform upgrades to the systems at the facility, including the tanks, with a goal to improve safety and reliability of equipment.  

References and more information 

Have questions about the project?

If you have any questions about the project, please email or call 508-305-7153.