Exxon, Qatar to start construction on Texas Golden Pass LNG export plant

(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp and Qatar Petroleum told the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday they would start construction of the $10 billion-plus Golden Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Texas on May 13:

FILE PHOTO: People walk near the booth of the Exxon Mobil Corp at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

Exxon and Qatar Petroleum made a final investment decision to build the project in February and expect the project to enter service in 2024.

Golden Pass is designed to produce around 16 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG, equivalent to about 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas.

One billion cubic feet is enough gas for about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

Qatar Petroleum owns 70 percent of the project, while Exxon owns 30 percent.

Enable Midstream Partners LP has said it expects to complete the Gulf Run pipeline to transport gas to Golden Pass in late 2022.

Golden Pass selected McDermott International Inc, Chiyoda Corp and Zachry Group to build the project.

After exporting no LNG at the start of 2016, the United States is expected to become the third biggest LNG exporter in the world in 2019 behind Australia and Qatar.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected U.S. LNG exports will rise to an average of 5.3 bcfd in 2019 and 7.4 bcfd in 2020 from 3.0 bcfd in 2018. LNG exports in 2018 were worth about $3.5 billion.

Looking at just the terminals under construction, total U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to increase to 7.4 bcfd by the end of 2019 and 10 bcfd by the end of 2020, up from 5.2 bcfd now.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jonathan Oatis