By BRIAN WINGFIELD
The Dominion Resources plan to export liquefied natural gas
cleared a US environmental review, a key step toward final
approval as supporters in Congress seek to expedite overseas
shipments of the fuel.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval of
Dominions proposed Cove Point project
Chesapeake Bay would have no significant impact
on the environment, as long as proper measures are taken, the
staff said in an environment
The full commission is scheduled to issue a final decision on
Cove Point by Aug. 13. Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass is the
only US project
to win approval from the
FERC and Energy Department.
Dominion of Richmond, Virginia, is seeking to take advantage
of a boom in US natural gas production, driven by advances in
drilling techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or
fracking. Cove Point, which may cost as much as $3.8 billion
to build, is scheduled to begin shipments in late 2017.
Advocates of natural-gas exports in Congress and the industry
in recent months have seized on the potential for US supplies
of the fuel to cut Europe
s reliance on Russia.
gets about 30% of its
natural gas from Russia, which annexed Ukraines Crimea
region in March.
that plan to ship gas
to nations without a free-trade agreement with the US need
Energy Department approval in addition to passing the
al review. Cove Point
has already won Energy Department approval. Most of the
s wont start
exporting until 2017 or 2018, as the facilities
take time to build.
Sempra Energys proposed Cameron LNG terminal cleared
the FERC staff environment
al review on April 30.
Cameron and Sabine Pass are in Louisiana.
House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, and Senate
Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Mary
Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, are among lawmakers who have
called for expedited approvals.
Dominion, which is modifying an existing import terminal
about 62 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Washington, DC,
will liquefy the gas and provide export services from Cove
Point. It wont own the fuel.
The company has in place 20-year contracts with affiliates of
Japans Sumitomo and Gail India
of New Delhi. Neither Japan
have free-trade deals with