LNG export terminals in the US are moving closer to operational readiness, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. Cheniere Energy’s liquefaction export facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, is projected to become operational during 2Q 2015. If the facility, which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), is ready, as anticipated, it will be the fifth LNG export facility constructed or being constructed in the Lower 48 states, according to the EIA.
Four of the five LNG terminals are brownfield projects that are being constructed on existing regasification sites already in operation. That allows them to share functions with existing LNG import facilities to conserve on construction and operating expenses.
The Corpus Christi facility owned by Cheniere is being developed on Cheniere’s La Quinta Channel property that was approved for a regasification facility but never constructed. The facility is the first greenfield project to be approved by FERC.
The East Coast and Gulf Coast facilities represent almost 9 bcf/d of LNG export capacity, and are expected to being operations late in 2015. All of the five LNG terminals are scheduled to be in service by 2018.
FERC had received plans for 15 proposed LNG export terminals for approval as of 1 April, and more are in the planning states, according to the EIA. FERC is responsible for authorizing the siting and construction of LNG import and export facilities and associated pipelines.
The EIA projects in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015 reference case that LNG exports from the Lower 48 states will reach 7 bcf/d by 2022. If just the five projects alone go into operation at their fully rated capacity, they will exceed EIA’s projection of LNG exports by 2 bcf/d.
Sabine Pass is the first US LNG export facility that was filed for FERC approval and was undergoing construction. Sabine Pass is a four-train facility that received approval to export 2.2 bcf/d, and is scheduled to enter service late in 2015. Its full capacity is projected to be online in 2016.
Cameron LNG in Louisiana is slated to be a three-train LNG export terminal capable of exporting 1.7 bcf/d of LNG, much of which is contracted to its partners. Construction began in October 2014, with commercial operation expected to being in 2018.
The Cove Point facility in Maryland began LNG import operations nearly 40 years ago, but the marine terminal was mothballed most of the time since then. The cryogenic tanks have been used, however. The export project, which will add a single .82 bcf/d train, is targeted to begin operations in late 2017. Construction of the off-site facilities supporting the project began late in October, 2014.
The Freeport and Corpus Christi LNG terminals in Texas have capacities of 1.8 bcf/d and 2.14 bcf/d, respectively. Construction on the Freeport LNG terminal began in November, 2014, while construction on the Corpus Christi three-train LNG export terminal is expected to begin soon, and will include the construction and operation of a 23mi long, 48in diameter, bidirectional pipeline. The Freeport and Corpus Christi LNG terminals are scheduled for commercial service in 2018.
Expansions are in the works for Sabine Pass and Cameron, and two additional LNG liquefaction trains are being sought. The Sabine Pass expansion was approved on 6 April, and will add 1.3 bcf/d of additional capacity, while the Cameron LNG expansion, if approved, will add 1.4 bcf/d of capacity.