By BEN LEFEBVRE
The US Department of Energy said Friday it has authorized
Cameron LNG to export liquefied natural gas, opening the door
wider for US natural gas companies to send their bounty
The export permit is only the third awarded in the US.
It allows Cameron, a wholly-owned subsidiary of
California-based natural gas distributor and marketer Sempra
Energy (SRE), to ship up to 1.7 billion cubic feet/day of LNG
from its in Cameron Parish, La., facility to countries
possessing free-trade agreements with the US.
Sempra spokeswoman Paty Mitchell said the company was receiving
"serious interest from significant credit-worthy
counterparties" for LNG shipments.
The company is still waiting for federal permission to
export LNG to any country that doesn't have a free trade
agreement with the US, Mitchell said.
Cameron also has to win government approval to build export
facilities at the Cameron Parish
The Energy department permit was awarded on Jan. 17 and is good
for 20 years after the first export shipment, expected in
US natural gas producers are hoping to sell the commodity
overseas, where it can command much higher prices than in the
New drilling technologies such as horizontal drilling and
hydraulic fracturing have unlocked new sources of natural gas
in the US, increasing supply and helping to drive prices to a
Natural gas futures settled at $2.343 a million British thermal
units Friday. That was nearly $2 lower year over year and down
from nearly $14 in July 2008.
US LNG exports could drive domestic natural gas prices up as
much as 36% in 2018, according to a recent report by the US
Energy Information Administration.
Cheniere Energy won federal approval in May to export 2.2
billion cubic feet/day of LNG out of its facility in Sabine
Pass, La.; the company plans to send its first shipment by
ConocoPhillips' Kenai LNG plant in Alaska sent small amounts
of LNG before suspending operations in 2011.
Dow Jones Newswires