Sempra seeks US permit to begin building Cameron LNG export facilities

Sempra Energy on Monday filed a permit application with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to add natural gas liquefaction and export facilities to its existing Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana.
In the application, Sempra is requesting approval to begin construction of the project.

The project has been progressing successfully through the FERC pre-filing process, which was initiated in April, according to the company.

"The Cameron liquefaction project represents a significant investment in new energy infrastructure in Louisiana that will stimulate local, regional and national economic activity, creating new jobs and supporting small businesses," said Mark A. Snell, president of Sempra Energy.

"Our filing keeps us on schedule to receive FERC approval and begin construction in the fourth quarter of 2013."

The net benefits of the project outlined in the FERC application include creating nearly 3,000 direct jobs in the peak construction year and approximately 130 full-time jobs when fully operational, the company says. 

The federal agency will review the application and conduct an environmental study of the project prior to acting on the permit.

Additional permits and approvals will be required before construction on the Cameron liquefaction project can be completed and the project becomes operational.

"The public scoping meetings held during the summer demonstrated strong community support for the proposed project," said Octavio M. C. Simoes, president of Sempra Energy's LNG operations. "Our project stimulates the economy, creates local wetlands, promotes stability in domestic natural gas pricing and increases global economic trade."

A report by the US Department of Energy (DOE) released last week says that increased liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports will result in net economic benefits to the US economy.

The third-party study, prepared by NERA Economic Consulting, is expected to help the DOE weigh some 15 proposals for LNG export, including the Sempra filing.

Cameron LNG already has received approval from the DOE to export LNG to countries with which the US has qualifying free-trade agreements. The company's application to export to non free-trade agreement countries, filed in December 2011, is expected to be among the first to be considered early next year, according to Sempra officials.

The liquefaction facility will utilize Cameron LNG's existing facilities, including two marine berths capable of accommodating Q-Flex-sized LNG ships, three LNG storage tanks of 480,000 cubic meters, and vaporization capability for regasification services of 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day.

The new liquefaction facility will be comprised of three liquefaction trains with a total export capability of 12 million tpy of LNG, or approximately 1.7 Bcf/day. The facility is expected to begin delivering LNG to international markets in 2017.

Earlier this year, Cameron LNG signed commercial development agreements with Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co. and a subsidiary of GDF Suez. These agreements bind the parties to fund all development expenses, including design, permitting and engineering for the full capacity of the new facility.

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