(Reuters) - Golden Pass LNG sought permission from U.S. federal energy regulators to boost the capacity of the company’s $10 billion export terminal under construction in Texas to 18.1 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) from 15.6 MTPA.
Golden Pass, which filed its request with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week, said on Monday that the increase “does not involve any equipment changes or environmental permit adjustments.”
The company said it would achieve the addition by “production efficiencies.”
“Because the capacity increase does not involve additions or adjustments to the permitted facilities, it would not result in any construction or environmental impacts beyond those previously identified” by FERC, Golden Pass said.
The company started building the three-train project in mid-2019 and said it remains on schedule to start the first liquefaction train in 2024 with Train 2 expected to follow six-to-eight months later, and Train 3 six-to-eight months after that.
If FERC approves the increase, each train will be capable of producing a little over 6 MTPA of LNG or 0.79 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.
Golden Pass is owned by units of U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp (30%) and Qatar Petroleum [QATPE.UL] (70%), the world’s biggest LNG exporter.
Units of McDermott International Inc, Chiyoda Corp and Zachry Group are building the project.
Including projects under construction, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 10.0 bcfd by the end of 2020 and 10.7 bcfd by the end of 2021 from 9.9 bcfd now.
That keeps the United States on track to become the world’s biggest LNG exporter in 2024 when Golden Pass enters service. It became the third-biggest LNG exporter in 2019, behind Qatar and Australia.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Tom Brown