US approves Freeport LNG export application

The US Energy Department has conditionally authorized Freeport LNG Expansion and FLNG Liquefaction LLC (Freeport) to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas, to countries that do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US.

Freeport previously received approval to export LNG from this facility to FTA countries on February 10, 2011. Subject to environmental review and final regulatory approval, the facility is conditionally authorized to export at a rate of up to 1.4 Bcfd for a period of 20 years.

The Department granted the first authorization to export LNG to non-FTA countries in May 2011 for the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, at a rate of up to 2.2 Bcfd.

The development of US natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the US energy landscape, helping to improve the country's energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country. This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the US Energy Information Administration forecasting a record production rate of 69.3 Bcfd in 2013.

Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the US. For countries that do not have an FTA with the US, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorizations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

The Energy Department conducted an extensive, careful review of the application to export LNG from the Freeport LNG Terminal.  Among other factors, the Department considered economic, energy security and environmental impacts. Public comments for and against the application were also considered.

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