Last Modified: Friday, December 14, 2012 6:23 PM
A recently released federal report on the prospects of liquefied natural gas exports offers excellent news for Southwest Louisiana.
The U.S. Department of Energy endorsed the idea of exporting LNG in the report.
David Dismukes, associate director of LSU’s Center for Energy Studies, said the report amounts to changing the LNG export traffic signal from yellow to green.
“The projects that are going now, provided they can get their financing and contracts, now face much, much less uncertainty about how regulation may be coming down on them,” Dismukes told The Advocate of Baton Rouge.
Loren Scott, former head of the LSU Economics Department, said natural gas in the United States is so plentiful that exporting it will not dramatically drive up its cost.
Those details are bound to buoy the prospects of the three LNG facilities in Southwest Louisiana.
Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG facility has already won approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to convert its terminals for export.
The company has said the refit will cost $5.6 billion, employ 3,000 during peak construction period and create 150 permanent jobs. Cheniere has said it already has four global buyers for its LNG. Though the U.S. Department of Energy is considering an objection to the project by the Sierra Club, work has already begun on the plant conversion and export could begin as soon as the last quarter of 2015, making it the first facility in the continental U.S. to export the product.
Trunkline LNG Co., a subsidiary of Southern Union Co., has also filed a request with FERC to begin the review process for the conversion of its terminal south of Lake Charles.
The company said the project would create thousands of construction jobs and more than 100 operations jobs. It anticipates exports beginning in 2018.
Earlier this week, Sempra Energy announced it was filing its permit application with FERC for conversion of its Cameron LNG terminal at Hackberry. Its pre-filing application has already received approval.
The company said the project would create nearly 3,000 direct jobs in the peak construction year and about 130 full-time jobs when fully operational. It plans to begin construction in the last quarter of next year and begin exporting LNG in 2017.
Earlier this year, Cameron LNG signed commercial development agreements with Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co. Ltd and a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ S.A for funding of all developmental expenses for the new facility.
Quick FERC approval of Sempra and Trunkline’s requests will not only bolster Southwest Louisiana’s economy but will jumpstart the LNG export ventures.
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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.