Cameron LNG receives final investment approval for US export project

Sempra LNG, GDF Suez. Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. have each approved a final investment decision for the development, construction and operation of the gas liquefaction and export project at Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana.

The total project cost is estimated at approximately $10 billion, including contribution of the existing Cameron LNG facilities, construction of the new facilities and financing cost.

The financing commitments for the project total $7.4 billion and will be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and a group of 29 commercial banks.

"This represents one of the largest project financings in the US," said Octavio M.C. Simoes, president of Sempra LNG.

"Today's commitments from our project sponsors and international banks put us one step closer to delivering domestic natural gas to America's trading partners in Europe and Japan," he added.

The three-train natural gas liquefaction facilities will have an export capability of 12 million tpy of liquefied natural gas (LNG), or approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet/day.

Subject to final regulatory approval, satisfaction of conditions of the initial equity funding and first disbursement of the financing, construction on the project is expected to begin later this year.

All three trains are expected to commence operations during 2018, with the first full year of operations in 2019.

"Over the past two years, we've worked collaboratively with the project sponsors to stay on schedule throughout the commercial, technical design, permitting and project financing phases of the project," said E. Scott Chrisman, vice president of commercial development for Sempra LNG.

"We appreciate the confidence our sponsors and the international financial community placed in our project and we look forward to starting construction on the project this year," he added.

Earlier this year, Cameron LNG received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to site, construct and operate the liquefaction facilities and was awarded conditional authorization from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to export LNG to non-free-trade-agreement (non-FTA) countries, including Japan and European nations.

A final authorization from DOE is expected later this year.

Subject to the finalization of permits and other conditions to the equity and debt financing, Sempra Energy will have an indirect 50.2% ownership interest in Cameron LNG and the related liquefaction project, and the remaining portion will be owned by affiliates of GDF Suez, Mitsubishi (through a related company jointly established with NYK) and Mitsui, each with 16.6% stakes.

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