Kinder Morgan gets OK to put last unit at Georgia Elba LNG plant in service

(Reuters) - U.S. energy regulators on Thursday granted Kinder Morgan Inc’s request to put in service the 10th and final liquefaction train at the company’s nearly $2 billion Elba Island liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Georgia.

Kinder Morgan said on Aug. 20 that Train 7 would be ready for service on Aug. 27, according to filings with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Trains 1-6 and 8-10 were already available, with Train 1 entering service in October 2019 and Train 10 in August 2020.

Each train is capable of liquefying about 0.3 million tonnesper annum (MTPA) of LNG or 0.04 billion cubic feet per day(bcfd) of natural gas.

The first export cargo from Elba left in December. Elba,however, has not exported a cargo since January as governmentsteps to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus have sappedglobal energy demand. Elba, which is 51% owned by units of Kinder Morgan and 49%by EIG Global Energy Partners, is designed to liquefy about 2.5MTPA of LNG, equivalent to around 0.350 billion cubic feet perday (bcfd) of natural gas.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has a 20-year contract to usethe facility.

Including projects under construction, U.S. LNG exportcapacity is expected to rise from 9.8 bcfd now to 10.5 bcfd bythe end of 2021 and 12.5 bcfd by the end of 2022.

That keeps the United States on track to become the world’sbiggest LNG exporter in 2024. It became the third-biggestexporter in 2019, behind Qatar and Australia.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Steve Orlofsky