November 13, 2018 / 7:15 PM / a month ago

Venture Global's Plaquemines LNG export plant passes U.S. environmental test

(Reuters) - Venture Global’s Plaquemines liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana took a step toward receiving federal approval for construction on Tuesday after staff at the U.S. energy regulator issued a draft environmental report.

In the report, known as an environmental impact statement, staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded that “construction and operation of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with mitigation.”

The staff, however, said Plaquemines combined with other projects in the area could result in significant cumulative impacts on air quality.

FERC said in a release its commissioners will take the FERC staff’s recommendations into consideration when they decide on the project. FERC did not say when the commissioners would make that decision.

Plaquemines includes the liquefaction facilities, four 200,000-cubic meter LNG storage tanks, power generation facilities, three LNG loading docks and the Gator Express pipeline.

Venture Global is developing the Plaquemines facility to produce about 20 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG, equal to about 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas. One billion cubic feet is enough gas to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day. Plaquemines is one of dozens of LNG export terminals under development in the United States, Canada and Mexico that are seeking customers so they can get built over the next several years to meet growing global demand for the fuel.

The United States became a net exporter of natural gas, including LNG, for the first time in 60 years in 2017. Looking at the plants currently under construction, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 5.2 bcfd by the end of 2018, 8.9 bcfd in 2019 and 10.3 bcfd in 2020, from around 3.8 bcfd in service now.

Venture Global has said it expects Plaquemines to enter service in 2023. The company is also developing the 10-MTPA Calcasieu Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana, which it expects to enter service in 2022.

Venture Global said other partners looking to buy gas from its proposed LNG export facilities include units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc , Edison SpA, Galp Energia SGPS SA, BP Plc , Repsol SA and Polish Oil and Gas Co (PGNiG).

Venture Global said its liquefaction systems will use technology from General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes unit.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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