By BRIAN WINGFEILD
Sempra Energy plan to export liquefied natural gas wont
cause major environmental damage, a U.S. regulator said,
adding support for lawmakers seeking to speed fuel shipments
and cut Russias grip on Europe
The staff of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
found Sempras proposed Cameron LNG export facility in
western Louisiana would not result in significant
impacts to the environment
, according to an
agency notice today. However, it said, some long-term
and permanent environment
al impacts would
occur. The commission is set to issue a final decision
on the project by late July.
If approved, Cameron would be the second export terminal to
pass the FERCs review. Cheniere Energy Inc.
(LNG)s Sabine Pass project won approval in April 2012,
after clearing a similar environmental review.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have pushed to expedite
approval of liquefied natural gas export terminals to send
the fuel to Europe
and reduce its reliance on
Russias energy supplies after it annexed Ukraines
Crimea region last month. In addition to the FERC-led environment
al review, the project
s need Energy Department
approval to ship to nations without a free-trade agreement
with the U.S.
The Cameron project
, which may cost as much as
$10 billion, won Energy Department backing in February.
Its scheduled to begin liquefying gas in late 2017 and
be fully operational by 2018, according to San Diego-based
The company owns 50.2% of the facility, which will be able to
export 1.7 billion cubic feet of the fuel per day.
Frances GDF Suez and Japans Sumitomo Mitsui
Financial. each own a 16.6% stake. A joint venture of
Tokyo-based Mitsubishi and Nippon Yusen owns the remaining
The 28-nation Europe
an Union gets about a third
of its natural gas from Russia through a web of pipelines
that cross nations including Ukraine, according to the
Congressional Research Service.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Mary
Landrieu this month urged the FERC to approve the Cameron
project, citing the need for job creation in her state and
the need for the U.S. compete with suppliers from other
The Energy Department has approved seven applications to
export the fuel, is reviewing 24 with at least 12 projects
still to be reviewed.
Shipments from most terminals probably wont begin until
pretty late in the decade, Energy Secretary
Ernest Moniz said at an April 23 conference in Washington.
The Cheniere project
, also in Louisiana, is
scheduled to begin exporting fuel in late 2015, according to