BG, Energy Transfer get approval for U.S. Lake Charles LNG project

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - BG Group and Energy Transfer Partners have gained approval from the U.S. energy regulator for their liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and export plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the companies said.

The go-ahead is a key milestone for the project, one of an array of planned U.S. LNG export plants set to bring shale gas to gas-hungry consumers across the globe.

The partners said they would take a final investment decision on the project, expected to export around 15 million metric tonnes of LNG a year, in 2016 and that first LNG exports from the plant could follow four years after construction starts.

“Lake Charles LNG has the potential to create several thousand jobs during construction and if fully operational could result in approximately 250 long-term operational positions,” said Jason Klein, asset general manager for BG in the United States.

The first commercial LNG exports from the United States are expected to leave Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in January, adding to a currently oversupplied market.

The Lake Charles project will convert Energy Transfer’s existing LNG regasification facility in Lake Charles into a liquefaction plant, one of the aspects which the developers say will make it one of the most competitive new LNG terminals in the United States.

BG, which will be operating the terminal once completed, will be responsible for choosing contractors for the construction of the project. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Mark Potter)