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FERC approves Cameron LNG export project

World Pipelines,

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) yesterday voted unanimously to authorize Cameron LNG, LLC to construct LNG liquefaction facilities and domestically export natural gas from its LNG import terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

FERC also approved an application by Cameron Interstate Pipeline LLC, to construct and operate pipeline and compression facilities to supply the LNG facility with natural gas.

The Cameron project achieved Energy Department backing in February, conditioned upon approval by the FERC. Committee environmental staff concluded in April that Cameron LNG will not cause any major environmental damage, but recommended steps to minimize ‘some adverse environmental impact’. Yesterday’s approval incorporated more than 75 conditions intended to reduce potential environmental damage.

The project, of which Sempra Energy Corp. owns 52%, has an estimated cost of between US$ 9 billion – US$ 10 billion. Frances GDF Suez and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. each own a 16.6% stake in the facility. A joint venture of Tokyo based Mitsubishi Corp and Nippon Yusen owns the remaining 16.6%.

“The liquefaction project is an international collaboration with our partners from Japan and France to create a world class facility to deliver reliable LNG supplies for more than 20 years to some of the largest LNG buyers in the world”, said E. Scott Chrisman, vice president of commercial development for Sempra LNG and the project leader for the Cameron LNG liquefaction project.

Sempra LNG President Octavio Simoes said: “We are pleased to have reached this important milestone successfully and be one step closer to starting construction later this year”.

The facility is scheduled to begin liquefying natural gas in late 2017 and should be fully operational by 2018. Sempra has indicated that a final Energy Department permit must be issued before it can begin shipping LNG to overseas customers.

Once completed, Cameron LNG intends to liquefy and export up to approximately 14.95 million tpy of gas, with a maximum operating capacity equivalent to pipeline receipts of up to 2.33 billion ft3/d.

US Senator Mary Landrieu, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said: “Cameron LNG will create thousands of high paying jobs in Southwest Louisiana and will position America as an energy superpower”.

Landrieu added that the DOE should quickly follow the example set by the FERC, and issue final approval for the project in order that 3000 new jobs can quickly be created.

American Petroleum Institute (API) Upstream Group Director, Erik Milito, also commented: “This is great news for the workers of Louisiana and the US economy”.

However, this is only the second time the FERC has approved an LNG export facility - the first to be approved was the Sabine Pass liquefaction facility in April 2012, which is now under construction – raising concerns in regards to the rate at which construction of such facilities is being authorized.

In his statement, Milito went on to urge Congress to accelerate the process for future applicants.

Written by Emma McAleavey.

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