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Governor Bobby Jindal, right, talks Octavio Simoes President of Sempra Entergy LNG and Cameron Police Jury President Darryl Farque after the announcement in early May that Sempra secured the third and final commercial agreement to develop a $6 billion natural gas liquefaction export facility in Hackberry. (American Press Archives)<br>

Governor Bobby Jindal, right, talks Octavio Simoes President of Sempra Entergy LNG and Cameron Police Jury President Darryl Farque after the announcement in early May that Sempra secured the third and final commercial agreement to develop a $6 billion natural gas liquefaction export facility in Hackberry. (American Press Archives)

Sempra investment in Southwest Louisiana could grow to more than $7 billion

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 8:46 AM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

San Diego-based Sempra Energy could potentially invest an additional $6 billion on about 500 acres in Southwest Louisiana, officials said Monday.

The total amount of Sempra’s investment in the state could exceed $7 billion. The company originally planned to spend $1 billion.

An option to lease the additional acreage of port-owned property north of the existing plant site was proposed and passed by the Port Board Monday.

Cameron LNG has filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) an application to expand its current liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility presently located on 200 acres of Port-owned property in Cameron Parish that is leased to Cameron LNG.

The proposed expansion will add facilities to allow for the processing of natural gas into LNG for export.

It will require changes on the existing plant site and extensive new plant facilities to be located north of the existing plant on property acquired by Cameron LNG and on a new lease area of 165 acres belonging to the Port and located in Calcasieu Parish.

“As we went through our design phase we recognized late last year that having additional acreage would give us some flexibility ... for a broader footprint of the facility,” Mark Nelson, regional vice president for Sempra, told the newspaper after the meeting. “We are quite optimistic at Sempra. This is an important milestone.”

Nelson said the company is simultaneously working on three tracks: construction, financing and permitting.

“FERC has deemed the permit complete,” Nelson said. “We would hope to have FERC approval in the third or fourth quarter of 2013.”

Nelson said their invitation to bid went out two weeks ago and that is “another important milestone.”

“International firms will begin reviewing that document and respond with their interest to bid or not,” he said.

Richert Self, director of Administration and Finance at Port of Lake Charles, said the port is excited to be able to lease the additional land.

As far as what this means for the port, the port will receive a 24 month option payment of $300,000. There is also an possible 12 month extension for $150,000, Self said.

Once Cameron LNG is satisfied that the project can proceed, Cameron LNG may exercise the option and trigger and long-term ground lease that provides for a primary term of approximately 30 years at a rent of $561,000 per year for the 165 acres.

According to Sempra, the project would create nearly 3,000 construction jobs and 130 full-time jobs. Nelson said construction is still set for 2013 and the first liquefaction train will open at the end of 2016.

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