FERC gives nod to major LNG project in Louisiana

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the first new major liquefied natural gas project in more than two years. It represents a significant fillip for the sector and for customers in Europe with an appetite for more US LNG shipments.

FERC consists of three Democratic and two Republican commissioners and voted unanimously to approve Commonwealth LNG’s application to build and operate a 1.18 billion cubic feet-per-day export terminal in Lake Charles.

LNG demand has climbed all year, with the war in Ukraine pushing up the price of energy around the world. And European countries in particular are seeking alternative sources to Russian gas.

The gas industry has welcomed the commitments President Joe Biden has made and the exports he has approved on his watch. Since March, the Department of Energy has approved billions of cubic feet in additional export authorizations at both existing facilities and at others that are FERC-approved but not yet operational.

There are seven operating LNG export terminals, most of which are located on the Gulf Coast; more than a dozen have been approved but are incomplete.

Rich Glick, who is a Democrat and chairman of the FERC, said federal natural gas law covering LNG terminals requires the panel to approve the facilities unless they are contrary to public interests.

But Glick said he was concerned that the terminal will produce the equivalent of 3.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year. “I still am at a loss as to why we don’t at least assess the significance of the greenhouse gas emissions in terms of making our determination,” he said.

Only this week the research house McKinsey put out a report on the potential of North America to export gas to Europe to tackle the current energy crisis.


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