May 11, 2009 / 7:09 PM / 11 years ago

Cheniere urges FERC to approve Sabine LNG exports

*Cheniere seeks export approval for Sabine Pass

*FERC approves Freeport LNG export

NEW YORK, May 11 (Reuters) - Cheniere Energy (LNG.A) urged the U.S. federal energy regulator to approve a request to export liquefied natural gas from its Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, in a letter sent May 8.

The Sabine Pass terminal currently imports the super-cooled gas in specially designed ships, but Cheniere wants to re-export gas sourced from abroad to take advantage of higher-paying markets elsewhere.

Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in February said that modifications needed to add export facilities would not have any significant impact on the environment, subject to certain mitigating measures, but since then, no authorization has been given.

“Sabine Pass LNG has had several significant commercial LNG opportunities that it has had to forego due to the delay in issuance of the order authorizing it to perform export services,” Cheniere’s vice president of government affairs Patricia Outtrim wrote in a letter to FERC Friday.

“Sabine Pass LNG respectfully requests that the Commission issue authorization for the Sabine Pass LNG export project without delay.”

The letter came on the same day that FERC approved construction of similar modifications to allow exports of LNG from the Freeport LNG terminal in Texas.

FERC approved the modifications in response to a letter from Freeport LNG’s lawyers that same day, according to FERC’s daily filings.

Freeport, like Sabine Pass, is currently an import facility. Both terminals sat idle during winter as high prices in Europe and Asia kept LNG tankers from heading to U.S. shores.

Cheniere has a 30 percent interest in Freeport LNG. (Reporting by Edward McAllister; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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