Sempra Energy's proposed $10 billion Cameron LNG export facility in Hackberry, Louisiana, has received the go-ahead from US regulators to proceed with construction later this year, making it the second such project to gain full federal approval.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's authorisation gives Sempra the green light to site, construct and operate a liquefaction and export facility at the site of the company's existing LNG import terminal in Hackberry.
The proposed three-train liquefaction facility would provide an export capacity of 12 million tonnes per annum of LNG, or around 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of gas.
It is the first LNG export project to be fully approved by Ferc since Cheniere Energy got the OK in 2012.
Once placed into service, Cameron LNG’s terminal will be capable of liquefying domestically produced natural gas for export, importing LNG and regasifying it for delivery to domestic markets, and importing foreign-sourced LNG for subsequent export.
According to Ferc, Cameron LNG does not plan to liquefy exports and regasify imports at the same time.
Cameron LNG proposes to phase in the construction and service of the three LNG trains, with the first placed in service in 2017 and the other two in 2018.
The approval also covers an additional 160,000 cubic-metre LNG storage tank, the fourth storage tank at Cameron LNG’s terminal, as well as a 21-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline expansion of the Cameron Interstate Pipeline and a new compressor station for feeding gas to the liquefaction facilities.
Earlier this year, Cameron LNG was awarded conditional approval from the Department of Energy to export LNG to non-free-trade-agreement (non-FTA) countries including Japan and European nations.
The Ferc clearance was the final major hurdle for a final investment decision, which is expected.
Sempra will own an indirect 50.2% ownership interest in Cameron LNG. The remaining portion will be owned by affiliates of GDF Suez, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, each with a 16.6% stake. Mitsubishi's ownership is through a related company jointly established with Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha.
The equity stake owned by those three companies was acquired through a tolling agreement signed earlier this year in which each company agreed to take 4 mtpa of the total export capacity.
"The liquefaction project is an international collaboration with our partners from Japan and France to create a world-class facility to deliver reliable LNG supplies for more than 20 years to some of the largest LNG buyers in the world,” said Scott Chrisman, vice-president of commercial development for Sempra LNG and project leader for the Cameron LNG liquefaction.