* India's Gail and Japan's Sumitomo sign export deals
* Dominion hopes to export LNG from US by 2017
* Company still awaiting government approval to export
NEW YORK, April 1 Dominion Energy has
signed two deals with Indian and Japanese buyers to export
liquefied natural gas from its proposed Cove Point export plant
in Maryland, the latest pact that could see U.S. shale gas
India's state-owned Gail and Japan trading firm
Sumitomo have signed up to use Dominion's $3.5 billion
LNG plant that will liquefy U.S. gas for shipment in tankers
overseas by 2017, pending government approvals, the companies
said on Monday.
Dominion filed for a construction permit from the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday, and is still waiting for
approval from the Department of Energy to export gas to
countries which do not have free trade agreements with the
United States, including Japan and India.
DoE approval will depend largely on the outcome of a
contentious debate currently raging in the United States about
whether exporting its abundant resources of gas might hurt
consumers by pushing prices higher at home.
So far, the DOE has approved one export plant - Cheniere
Energy's Sabine Pass project in Louisiana - and said it will
consider each project separately in the order in which it
received applications. Dominion's Cove Point is third in line.
Under the agreements, Gail and Sumitomo will source the gas
themselves and pay to use the plant, which will have the
capacity to produce 5.25 million tonnes per year (mtpa) of LNG.
Both companies will be able to export 2.3 million tonnes per
Sumitomo will sell the LNG onto Japanese utilities Tokyo Gas
and Kansai Electric Power.
IHI/Kiewit Cove Point, a joint venture between IHI E&C
International Corporation and Kiewit Corporation has been
awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)
contract for the plant, Dominion said.