Cheniere Energy Inc.’s proposal to build a liquefaction facility to export natural gas from its Sabine Pass terminal won’t significantly affect the environment, staff of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.
“Approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” according to the statement issued today.
Cheniere built Sabine Pass as a gas-import terminal. It received approval from the U.S. Energy Department to export liquefied natural gas and is awaiting a final decision from the commission for a project that would initially cost as much as $5 billion. Improved drilling techniques has made the U.S. the world’s largest gas producer, creating the prospect of ship-bound exports.
The export plant would cool gas to a liquid form so it can be loaded onto tankers for shipment to markets inaccessible by pipelines. The Louisiana project would be capable of exporting about 16 million metric tons of LNG a year.
Cheniere has announced several 20-year gas-supply contracts, including a pair of agreements for the project with BG Group Plc and Gas Natural SDG SA of Spain.
Diane Haggard, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Cheniere, wasn’t available for comment.
Cheniere climbed 4.6 percent to close at $8.90 in New York.
The Sabine Pass terminal is set to be the first new North American gas export project since 1969, when exports from the Kenai terminal in Alaska started.