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    US Regulator Approves Two LNG Projects


Ferc approvals cover more than 40mn mt/yr of LNG export capacity

by: Dale Lunan

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US Regulator Approves Two LNG Projects

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Ferc) said April 18 it had approved a pair of LNG export projects, Tellurian’s Driftwood LNG project in Louisiana and Sempra LNG’s Port Arthur LNG project in Texas.

Ferc also approved four pipeline projects that will deliver feed gas to the two liquefaction terminals.

“Today’s orders show that Ferc is making a lot of headway on processing LNG applications in a more efficient manner, and I’m proud of the work that we are doing,” commission chair Neil Chatterjee said. “LNG exports can help increase the availability of inexpensive, clean-burning fuel to our global allies who are looking for an efficient, affordable, environmentally-friendly source of generation.”

There are currently 10 LNG export projects pending before the commission, following the two April 18 approvals and the approval of Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass project in February.

Driftwood LNG comprises a 27.6mn mt/yr liquefaction terminal in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, 96 miles of mainline pipeline, 3.4 miles of lateral pipeline and three compressor stations. The pipeline will deliver up to 3.9bn ft3/day of natural gas to the liquefaction terminal.

A final investment decision on Driftwood LNG is expected by 4Q 2019, with first LNG expected in 2023.

Port Arthur LNG comprises a 13.5mn mt/yr liquefaction terminal on the Sabine-Neches ship channel in Port Arthur, Texas and two pipelines, the 130.9-mile Louisiana Connector Project and the 34.2-mile Texas Connector Project, each with the capacity to deliver up to 2bn ft3/day of natural gas to the liquefaction terminal. The two pipelines would be powered by three compressor stations.

Sempra LNG expects to make a final investment decision on Port Arthur LNG this year, with first LNG production anticipated in 2023.

In a separate statement, Ferc commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur, while concurring with the Port Arthur LNG approval, expressed frustration that the commission did not consider the significance of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the project.

“I appreciate that the commission has disclosed…the direct GHG emissions of the Port Arthur LNG project and the Texas and Louisiana Connector pipeline projects, and has provided important context by comparing them to the national GHG emissions inventory,” LaFleur said. “Unfortunately…the commission has not established a framework for making a significance determination. The magnitude of the direct GHG emission from the Port Arthur LNG project are substantial and certainly appear to be significant.”

GHG emissions from the Port Arthur project – including the liquefaction terminal and the two pipelines – have been estimated at 5.19mn mtCO2e/year, approximately 0.08% of the US national inventory of GHG emissions.

Both projects have received US Department of Energy (DoE) approval to export to free trade agreement (FTA) countries and have applications pending before the DoE for authorisations to export to non-FTA countries.