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    Cheniere Energy planning expansion at Sabine Pass


Stage 5 expansion would bring Cheniere's total production capacity to more than 78mn mt/yr. [Image credit: Cheniere Energy]

by: Dale Lunan

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Cheniere Energy planning expansion at Sabine Pass

US LNG pioneer Cheniere Energy said February 23 it had begun the pre-filing process with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a 20mn metric tons/year expansion at its Sabine Pass liquefaction complex in Louisiana.

The Sabine Pass Stage 5 Expansion Project, adjacent to the existing 30mn mt/yr Sabine Pass complex, is being designed to include up to three large-scale liquefaction trains, each with a production capacity of about 6.5mn mt/yr of LNG, a boil-off gas liquefaction unit with a production capacity of about 750,000 mt/yr of LNG, two 220,000 m3 LNG storage tanks and waste heat recovery and carbon capture capabilities.


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“As the first and largest LNG export facility in the Lower 48, Sabine Pass has pioneered an industry critical to supplying reliable, flexible, and cleaner burning natural gas to markets and customers around the world, and we look forward to significantly growing those capabilities through the SPL Expansion Project,” Cheniere CEO Jack Fusco said. “The SPL Expansion Project is being designed to leverage the infrastructure platform we’ve built at Sabine Pass to deliver economically advantaged incremental LNG capacity in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”

Sabine Pass commissioned its first trains at Sabine Pass, in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, in 2016, launching the US on a trajectory that would make it the third largest global source of LNG exports in 2022, and likely to be the largest exporter this year.

Bechtel Energy has been engaged to complete a front-end engineering and design study of the expansion project, which remains subject to receipt of all required regulatory approvals and permits, and sufficient commercial and financing arrangements to support a positive final investment decision.

Assuming a smooth regulatory process, Cheniere expects to begin construction in Q4 2025, with the full project anticipated to be in-service in the second half of 2032, although individual trains might be commissioned earlier, it said in its FERC filing.

The Stage 5 expansion would bring Cheniere’s total LNG production capacity to about 78.2mn mt/yr – more than total US LNG exports in 2022, according to data from Wood Mackenzie. Besides the brownfield SPL complex, Cheniere operates the greenfield Corpus Christi Liquefaction complex, with 15mn mt/yr of LNG production capacity.

A seven train, 10mn mt/yr mid-scale Stage 3 is under construction adjacent to the main Corpus Christi facility, and in August 22, the pre-filing process was begun with FERC to add two more mid-scale trains to Stage 3, bringing total capacity to about 13mn mt/yr. A formal application to FERC for the two additional trains is anticipated before the end of Q1 2023.