The U.S. Energy Department on Tuesday approved exports from Sempra Energy's Cameron Parish liquefied natural gas plant in Hackberry.

Approval is still needed from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the lead agency responsible permitting these new facilities, according to Sempra. A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Sulphur on a draft environmental impact statement, the Associated Press reports.

 

sempra cameron
Sempra’s Cameron LNG liquefaction project is being developed with the export capability of 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), or approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day. It will be comprised of three liquefaction trains with export potential of approximately 4 Mtpa each.

While the Energy Department had already approved exports from the terminal to countries that have free-trade agreements with the U.S., Sempra says, Tuesday’s action extends that approval to all other countries, including those in Europe and Asia. The conditional approval of exports was the sixth approval by the department since 2011, and the first since mid-November, according to Reuters.

Sempra's Cameron facility is currently a liquefied natural gas receipt terminal along the Calcasieu Channel in Hackberry. The terminal is strategically located near a major pipeline hub that serves nearly two-thirds of all U.S. natural gas markets. In 2011, Sempra applied to the Department of Energy to transition the facility from an import-only facility into an export facility.

U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu was quick to announce approval of the LNG export facility expansion, which she says will create 3,000 jobs in Southwest Louisiana.

Landrieu says after multiple delays, she sent a letter to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz this week urging swift approval of the Sempra permit.

Sempra Energy’s proposal will bring sustainable and substantial economic benefit to Louisiana, Landrieu says, including $10 billion in development to the state.

“The approval of an export LNG facility in Southwest Louisiana is long-overdue, but a welcome addition to the robust energy industry we are building in Louisiana,” Landrieu says in a prepared statement. “With the ability to safely export LNG, Sempra’s expansion will bring thousands of jobs to our region and be a major economic player throughout the entire state. When complete, Louisiana will be able to compete with foreign companies in the battle for the huge international LNG market.”

Sempra’s Cameron Parish LNG facility will create 3,000 construction jobs at its peak and 140 full-time jobs. The company will invest approximately $10 billion to fully upgrade the facility.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, more than 20 applications from other companies are awaiting Energy Department approval.

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