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Dominion May Export Gas at Cove Point LNG Plant

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Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Dominion Resources Inc., the owner of Virginia’s largest utility, is considering exporting natural gas from its Cove Point terminal in Maryland.

Dominion is working with a Cove Point partner on plans that would allow the facility to send gas from the Marcellus Shale overseas, Chief Executive Officer Thomas Farrell said today during an investor conference call. Statoil ASA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc are partners in the liquefied natural-gas terminal, currently only capable of receiving fuel shipments and sending it into U.S. pipelines.

“If the Marcellus is going to build out the way it is expected, to reach its full potential, people are going to have to explore exportation of the gas,” Farrell said.

Gas-shale reserves and output forecasts have doubled in a year, according to the Energy Information Administration. The Marcellus Shale, a rock layer under Pennsylvania and adjacent states, may hold 262 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, making it the biggest known U.S. deposit of the heating and power-plant fuel, according to the agency.

Cheniere Energy Partners LP is planning to add export capabilities to its Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana, allowing it to begin shipments out in 2015. Macquarie Group Ltd and Freeport LNG have proposed a $2 billion project to enable exports from a Texas terminal. LNG is gas cooled to liquid form for transport by ship to markets not connected by pipelines.

Dominion won’t expand the terminal near Baltimore without firm contracts “for a long period of time” from both suppliers and customers, Farrell said. The company, based in Richmond, Virginia, has talked to “a number of very major companies” about the project, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.net; Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net.

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