(Adds dropped word 'million' in paragraph 3)
May 16 (Reuters) - Sempra Energy has signed up Japanese and French buyers to back a U.S. liquefied natural gas export plant in Louisiana that will cost up to $10 billion, with construction expected to start next year, Sempra said on Thursday.
The new facility will have an export capacity of 12 million tons per year by 2017, and will be built at the site of Sempra's Cameron LNG receipt terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana.
Under the 20-year agreements unveiled on Thursday, the LNG will be bought under three separate four-million-ton-per-year deals by Mitsui & Co Ltd, Mitsubishi Corp, Nippon Yusen KK and France's GDF Suez SA. (Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco)