(Reuters) - U.S. liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy Inc, the nation’s biggest buyer of gas, on Friday asked U.S. energy regulators for permission to start work on the company’s $1.025 billion Midship natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma.
Cheniere asked the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for authorization to start building the proposed 234-mile (377 km) pipeline in three segments.
Cheniere said it expects to complete the project in early 2019.
In July, at least two U.S. production companies, Gulfport Energy Corp and Marathon Oil Corp, asked FERC to approve Midship because current gas infrastructure cannot accommodate anticipated demand from the South-Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP) and the Sooner Trend Anadarko Basin Canadian and Kingfisher (STACK) plays in Oklahoma.
Midship is designed to deliver 1.44 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas from the Anadarko basin to existing pipelines near Bennington, Oklahoma, for transport to Gulf Coast and Southeast markets where demand for the fuel for domestic consumption and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export is growing.
One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about five million U.S. homes for a day.
Total U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 8.3 bcfd by the end of 2019 and 9.6 bcfd by the end of 2020 from 3.8 bcfd now, which should make the country the third-biggest LNG exporter by capacity in 2019.
Most of the U.S. LNG export terminals, including Cheniere’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana, are located or being built along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana and Texas.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Tom Brown