UPDATE 1-Sempra's Cameron LNG plant passes FERC environmental test

Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:24pm EDT

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April 30 (Reuters) - Sempra Energy moved a step closer to building its proposed Cameron liquefied natural gas plant in Louisiana, after U.S. energy regulators completed a required environmental report for the project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on Wednesday.

In the environmental impact statement, FERC said its staff concluded the adverse environmental impacts of the project "would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of proposed minimization and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by the FERC staff."

The project, at Sempra's Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana, won conditional approval earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Energy to export LNG, but it needs permission from FERC before construction can begin.

Final approval from FERC is expected this summer and building is expected to begin later this year, Sempra said in a statement.

The push toward LNG has been bolstered by a surge in U.S. shale gas production expected to allow the country to become a net exporter of gas in 2018.

The proposed facility will have the capacity to export about 12 million tons of LNG per year, or about 1.7 billion cubic feet per day. In addition to the liquefaction plant, the project will also include storage facilities, 21 miles of 42-inch-diameter pipeline and a compressor station.

Cameron is one of several LNG export facilities under development in the United States. San Diego-based Sempra has said it expects the facility to enter service in 2019. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino, editing by G Crosse)

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