LNG Terminal Development

Sempra Energy identified the need for a new LNG terminal near Costa Azul on the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The wave conditions at the site included persistently long period swells, presenting a challenge for operating the facility and requiring an engineered solution.

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Sempra Energy
Costa Azul, Mexico
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Costa Azul, Mexico

Project Highlights

The Baird design met the client’s operability requirements and consisted of a large caisson breakwater located in 30 m of water. The design process required a full ocean wave hindcast, wave transformation to the site, breakwater option development and vessel motion and berth availability analysis.


  • Wavewatch 3 hindcast of Pacific, including partial blocking from Polynesian Islands
  • Nearshore wave transformation using spectral wave models
  • Boussinesq wave modeling to examine reflections from shore and wave conditions at the berth
  • Use of numerical and physical models to assess vessel motion

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Project Challenges

  • Define the southern ocean swells at the site.
  • Define moored ship response to swells.
  • Estimate the berth availability.
  • Estimate the longest likely berth inoperability timeframe.

Baird Solutions

  • Detailed calibration of hindcast model to directional buoy data with sub-grid blocking for Polynesian Islands.
  • Used both numerical and physical models to define wave limits.
  • A comprehensive LNG operability model was developed which considers ship motion, tug limits, winds, visibility, etc.
  • A long term wave hindcast was developed which highlighted the problems that occur during “El Nino” events.

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