By BRIAN WINGFIELD
Sempra Energy won final US approval to build an export
terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG), becoming the second
such facility to win government approval.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously to
let Sempras Cameron LNG project in Louisiana move
forward. The company said it plans to start building the
estimated $9 billion to $10 billion terminal later this year.
This is a landmark project
that will bring economic
prosperity and create thousands of jobs in Louisiana,
Sempra CEO Debra Reed said in a statement. Todays
approval is another important step in delivering natural gas
to Americas trading partners abroad.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have pushed to expedite
approval of the export terminals to send the fuel to Europe
and reduce Russias
energy dominance after it annexed Ukraines Crimea
region. The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce
Committee in April approved and sent the full House a bill
that would speed Energy Department approval of LNG export
Cameron will position America as an energy
superpower, Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee Chairman Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, said
The FERC environment
al staff concluded in
April that Cameron wont cause major environmental
damage, and recommended steps to minimize some adverse
environmental impact in western Louisiana. The FERC
approved more than 75 conditions on the project
to reduce potential environment
al harm, according to a
Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass export plant, now under construction
in Louisiana, is the
only other facility so far to win the support of both the
FERC and the Energy Department. The project, also in
Louisiana, is scheduled to begin exporting fuel in late 2015,
according to the company.
The Energy Department must determine whether it is in the
public interest for a liquefied natural gas project to ship
the fuel to countries that dont have a free-trade
agreement with the US, such as Japan or the 28 nations of the
The department is reviewing 24 applications for such
projects. The FERC, which leads US environment
al reviews of LNG
export projects, is weighing 14 applications for proposed facilities
in the US.
I think it is a positive data point for others awaiting
FERC approval, said Paul Patterson of Glenrock
Sempra increased to a 52-week high $105.25 after the FERC
decision, then surrendered the gains as US markets fluctuated
after the Federal Reserve promised to keep interest rates
The Cameron project
won Energy Department
backing in February, conditioned upon approval by the FERC.
Its scheduled to begin liquefying gas in late 2017 and
be fully operational by 2018, according to San Diego-based
We are pleased to have reached this important milestone
successfully and to be one step closer to starting construction
year, Sempra LNG president Octavio Simoes said in a
A final Energy Department permit to replace the conditional
one it now has must be issued before the company can begin
shipping to overseas customers, according to the company.
Sempra owns 50.2% of the facility, which will be able to
export 1.7 billion cubic feet/day of the fuel. Frances
GDF Suez and Japans Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
each own a 16.6% stake. A joint venture of Tokyo-based
Mitsubishi Corp. and Nippon Yusen K.K. owns the remaining
The EU 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.
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.