US Regulator Approves Freeport LNG Expansion
US regulators approved the Freeport LNG export terminal’s expansion plan May 16.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) handed the certificate to the privately-held Freeport project almost two years after it filed its application. It is the latest in a raft of LNG projects to win approval in 2019.
Michael Smith, CEO of Freeport LNG, said FERC's approval moves the Texan project a "significant step closer to our goal of moving ahead with train 4 construction later this year." The additional train is likely to launch operations in 2023, the company said.
Freeport’s first train is now scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2019. The second train would follow in the first quarter of 2020, with the third joining by the middle of the year.
The initial schedule suggested the three trains would be producing by the end of this year, but the $13bn plant was delayed by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. Once online, the trio will have capacity of 15mn mt/yr, the bulk of which has been contracted to customers including Jera, Osaka Gas, BP, Toshiba, and South Korea's SK E&S LN.
Freeport expects to win approval for the fourth train to export LNG to non-free trade agreement countries before the middle of the year.
FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee noted that the regulator has approved around 8bn ft3/day in LNG export capacity since February. "This capacity will spur economic growth in the US and abroad while helping improve the environment internationally," he said.
Certificates have this year been handed to Sempra Energy’s Port Arthur LNG, Tellurian's Driftwood LNG, and Venture Global's Calcasieu Pass.