Golden Pass LNG cleared to export

Sabine Pass Dinner Cruise attendee snaps photos of the Golden Pass LNG storage tanks and cargo transfer arms in Sabine Pass, TX in 2013. ( Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle )

The Golden Pass LNG terminal on the Texas Gulf Coast was cleared by the Department of Energy Tuesday to begin exporting up to 2.21 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Located outside Sabine Pass, the Golden Pass terminal was built to import LNG from abroad in 2009. But following the boom in domestic gas production through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, Golden Pass, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, shifted gears.

The approval adds to a growing list of LNG export terminals under development in the United States. Cheniere Energy began exporting last year from its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana. As of January, there were seven facilities under construction and another four that had been approved but not yet begun construction, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“This announcement is another example of President Trump’s leadership in making the United States an energy dominant force,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in a statement Tuesday. “This is not only good for our economy and American jobs but also assists other countries with their energy security.”

There has been no announcement on when the export facility will be completed. But Golden Pass is estimating construction will provide 45,000 direct and indirect jobs over five years, along with another 3,800 direct and indirect jobs over the next 25 years when the facility becomes operational.