(Reuters) - U.S. energy regulators approved Kinder Morgan Inc's KMI.N request to put in service the ninth liquefaction train at its nearly $2 billion (1.53 billion pounds) Elba Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Georgia.
Kinder Morgan said Train 10 would be ready for service on Aug. 10, according to a filing with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Trains 1-6, 8 and 9 were already available for service, with Train 1 entering service in October 2019 and Train 9 in July 2020.
Each train is capable of liquefying about 0.3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG or 0.04 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas.
The company has said it expects all 10 trains at the plant to be ready for service by the end of the summer.
The first export cargo from Elba left in December. Elba, however, has not exported a cargo since January as government steps to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus have sapped global energy demand.
Elba, which is 51% owned by units of Kinder Morgan and 49% by EIG Global Energy Partners, is designed to liquefy about 2.5 MTPA of LNG, equivalent to around 0.350 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc RDSa.L has a 20-year contract to use the facility.
Including projects under construction, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to rise from 9.8 bcfd now to 10.5 bcfd by the end of 2021 and 12.5 bcfd by the end of 2022.
That keeps the United States on track to become the world’s biggest LNG exporter in 2024. It became the third-biggest exporter in 2019, behind Qatar and Australia.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Steve Orlofsky
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