The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Ferc) has issued the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Freeport LNG export terminal in Freeport, Texas, giving the project a huge boost in gaining a final blessing.
The final EIS puts Freeport on a clear path towards approval to send out a total of 13.2 million tonnes per annum of LNG, which equates to a total liquefaction capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.
Ferc said the proposed project would result in "mostly temporary and short-term environmental impacts" and "some adverse environmental impacts".
"The impacts would not be significant except for the traffic and noise impacts on the residents of the town of Quintana during construction," Ferc said of the nearby beachside village.
Analysts at energy investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt hailed the final EIS for Freeport as a "material positive step in getting Freeport across FID (final investment decision) finish line, albeit later than expected".
Tudor Pickering now expects full Ferc approval for the project sometime before year-end. It had previously anticipated a mid-year approval.
A key factor aiding Ferc’s decision was the fact that the site of the liquefaction plant would expand upon the existing import terminal which already has LNG storage tanks and berthing.
The liquefaction plant will consist of three propane pre-cooled mixed refrigerant liquefaction trains and supporting facilities adjacent to the existing Quintana Island terminal.
Freeport LNG also proposes to construct a natural gas pretreatment plant located about 2.5 miles north of the existing Quintana Island terminal for processing the gas for liquefaction.
A five-mile-long, 12-inch diameter boil-off gas pipeline from the terminal to the pre-treatment plant would also have to be laid.