By Braden Reddall
May 16 Sempra Energy has signed up
Japanese and French partners to back a liquefied natural gas
export plant in Louisiana that will cost up to $10 billion, with
construction expected to start next year, Sempra said on
The plant would be only the second LNG export facility in
the state, with Cheniere Energy getting federal approval
last April to build one at Sabine Pass, as a wider debate about
exporting energy rumbles on in Washington.
The Sempra plant will have an export capacity of 12 million
tons per year by 2017, and be built at the site of Sempra's
Cameron LNG receipt terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana.
Under the 20-year agreements unveiled on Thursday, all the
LNG will be bought under three separate 4 million-ton-per-year
deals by Mitsui & Co Ltd, Mitsubishi Corp via
Nippon Yusen KK and France's GDF Suez SA.
"With the experience Mitsubishi has accumulated from more
than a dozen LNG projects over the last half-century, we are
committed to exert all our efforts for the success of this
project," Jun Nishizawa, vice president of the global gas unit
of Mitsubishi, said in a statement.
San Diego, California-based Sempra will retain a 50.2
percent stake in the project, while the three partners will
share the rest between them.
"We look forward to working with our partners to achieve a
final investment decision and commence construction in early
2014," said Octavio Simoes, president of Sempra LNG.
Sempra filed for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
approval for the plant in December, and said on Thursday the
final environmental review would be issued this November, with
FERC authorization expected in early 2014. Full commercial
operation is expected at Cameron by 2018.
Cameron LNG obtained Department of Energy approval last year
to export up to 12 million tons annually of LNG to all U.S. Free
Trade Agreement countries, though authorization to export to
other countries is pending a review by the department.