| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 21 U.S. energy regulators on
Thursday vacated Calhoun LNG's authorization to build a
liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Texas, two months
after the company requested that the authorization be rescinded.
In 2007, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) authorized Calhoun to build and operate a terminal and
associated infrastructure that would regasify up to 1 billion
cubic feet of natural gas per day. The 2007 authorization
required that the facilities begin service within five years of
the final approval, which would have been by Sept. 20, 2012.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Calhoun LNG filed to vacate the
authorization, saying it was abandoning its plans for the
facility located in Port Lavaca, Texas, the FERC said in its
filing on Thursday.
The tides turned for U.S. LNG import terminal projects after
drilling technologies allowed domestic gas producers to unlock
vast amounts of the fuel over the last five years, all but
canceling the need for gas imports.
Natural gas is used to heat more than half of U.S. homes in
Total annual LNG imports peaked at 770.8 billion cubic feet
(bcf) in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Between January and November 2012, gas imports dwindled to 157.8
bcf, DOE data showed.
Companies that invested in LNG import terminals have been
applying to convert them to export facilities as sharply higher
domestic production has depressed local prices. Global demand is
strong and LNG can at times fetch six times the amount paid in
the United States.
New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) natural gas futures
prices settled on Thursday at $3.246 per million British
thermal units (mmBtu). By comparison, NYMEX prices in 2007
averaged $7.11 per mmBtu.
Cheniere Energy Inc is so far the only company that
has been given approval and has begun construction of an export
terminal in Sabine Pass, Louisiana.
Calhoun LNG was backed by Gulf Coast LNG Partners LP, a
partnership between Gulf Coast LNG LLC and Haddington Energy
Partners II LP, a private equity fund managed by Houston-based
Haddington Ventures LLC.
Calls to Haddington were not immediately returned.