HOUSTON — An Exxon Mobil Corp. venture seeking to export natural gas from a facility near the Louisiana-Texas border has asked for a permit from a key federal regulator.
Golden Pass Products said it has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build and operate a liquefied natural gas export plant at the site of its existing import terminal at Sabine Pass in Jefferson County.
Battleground: Stakes are high for LNG export plan
The complex FERC application will require environmental impact assessments, reviews by other agencies and public comment periods, with the whole process expected to take about 18 months.
Just filing the massive application is a major milestone for any company seeking to export natural gas to countries that don’t have free trade agreements with the United States. Only a handful now have proposals pending at the agency, and just two have made it through the long, expensive FERC reviews.
Read more: Houston company wins federal approval for gas export project
Eric Pletcher, president of Golden Pass LNG, called the FERC filing “a key step toward making the project a reality.”
“To succeed in the permitting process requires years of work and investment and the determination of a strong team,” Pletcher said in a news release.
Golden Pass, a joint venture of Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum International, is still waiting on a separate export license from the Energy Department that would permit it to sell natural gas to Japan and other countries without U.S. free-trade pacts.
The $10 billion project is one of the main beneficiaries of the Energy Department’s plan to change the way it vets such export applications by prioritizing reviews on the most commercially mature projects that have gotten through FERC environmental reviews. Under a first-come-first-served review plan the department is aiming to replace, Golden Pass is ninth in line for review, a position that might have put decisive action nearly two years away.
Shakeup: New gas export review plan creates winners and losers
Houston-based Cheniere Energy already has begun construction on a liquefaction plant and export terminal at its existing import facility just across the state line from Golden Pass in Cameron Parish, La.
Also on Fuelfix:
Companies face hurdles to export natural gas
Sabine Pass LNG Terminal
Cheniere's Sabine Pass facility, now under construction at the site of its existing import terminal, is the only fully permitted new liquefied natural gas export project. First proposed in 2010, the Sabine Pass project effectively kicked off the new LNG export frenzy.
Location: Cameron Parish, La.
Company: Cheniere Energy Inc.
Proposed first exports: 2015.
Customers: Britain's Centrica and BG Group, France's Total, Korea Gas, GAIL India, Spain's Gas Natural Fenosa
Export license: Final approval Aug. 7, 2012 to export 2.2 billion cubic feet per day; pending application for additional 520 million cf/day
FERC license: Final authorization April 16, 2012
Freeport LNG holds two conditional permits to export a combined 1.8 billion cubic feet a day from an export plant near its existing import terminal.
Location: Quintana Island, Brazoria County, Texas
Companies: Freeport LNG Investments, ZHA FLNG Purchaser LLC, Dow Chemical Co. subsidiary Texas LNG Holdings and Osaka Gas Co. subsidiary Turbo LNG.
Proposed first exports: 2018.
Customers: BP, Japan's Osaka Gas, Japan's Chubu Electric Power, South Korea's SK E&S, and Toshiba Corp.
Export license: Conditional approval May 17, 2013 to export 1.4 Bcf/day. Conditional approval Nov. 15, 2013 to export an additional 400 million cubic feet per day.
FERC license: Third in line for review.
Lake Charles Liquefaction Project
Although Lake Charles was ahead of the pack in filing for its export license, it only recently filed for its FERC permit.
Location: Lake Charles, La.
Companies: BG Group and Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners (including ETE and ETP subsidiaries Trunkline LNG Co. and Trunkline LNG Export)
Expected first exports: 2019.
Customer: BG Group (which has exclusive rights to the full export capacity)
Export license: Conditional approval Aug. 7, 2013 to export 2 Bcf/day.
FERC license: Initial application.
Cove Point LNG
Dominion's plans to add liquefaction equipment to the decades-old Cove Point LNG receiving terminal have drawn fierce opposition from environmentalists, worried the East Coast project would be a critical outlet for Pennsylvania and Ohio Marcellus Shale production they oppose. The project's relatively small export plans -- just 770 million cubic feet per day -- could be an asset in the race to finance and build new liquefaction projects.
Location: Lusby, Md.
Expected first exports: 2017.
Customers: Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co., Tokyo Gas Co., GAIL India and Japan's Sumitomo Corp. (through its U.S. subsidiary Pacific Summit Energy)
Export license: Conditional approval Sept. 11, 2013 to export 770 million cubic feet per day.
FERC license: Second in line for review.
Partners on the Cameron LNG project cover the range of the LNG value chain, including Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha and French electricity and gas utility GDF Suez. That broad reach could be an advantage in financing the project.
Location: Hackberry, La.
Companies: Sempra, GDF Suez, Mitsubishi Corp., Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha and Mitsui
Expected first exports: 2019.
Customers: Japan's Kansai Electric Power Co. and Japan's Toho Gas.
Export license: Conditional approval Feb. 11 to export 1.7 Bcf/day.
FERC license: Next in line for review.
Jordan Cove Energy / Jordan Cove Energy
Jordan Cove Energy Project
As the first newly proposed LNG export facility on the West Coast, the Jordan Cove plant would have better access to customers in Asia. But it also has some big obstacles, including its status as the lone greenfield project – one not part of an existing import facility -- to hold a conditional LNG export license. The project also requires construction of a 230-mile pipeline. And environmental opposition in the Pacific Northwest could be significant.
Location: Coos Bay, Ore.
Company: Veresen Inc.
Expected first exports: 2019.
Customers: Company has announced non-binding agreements with prospective customers in the Asia Pacific market with negotiations expected throughout the spring and summer. (Indonesia, India and an unnamed Eastern Asia country).
Export license: Conditional approval March 24 to export 1.2 Bcf/day.
FERC license: In review, after formal application filing in May 2013.