July 31, 2014 / 1:33 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. FERC approves construction of Freeport LNG export project

(Adds details about approval, background)

WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - U.S. federal regulators on Wednesday approved construction of Freeport LNG Development LP’s liquefied natural gas export project in Texas.

Freeport is the third U.S. LNG export project to get the green light to begin construction from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (FERC order: 1.usa.gov/1ocKyca)

The planned project would have the capacity to export up to 1.8 billion cubic feet a day of LNG once constructed.

With domestic gas production booming, U.S. companies have lined up to ship the nation’s abundant shale gas abroad.

FERC approved construction of Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG export terminal in Louisiana last month.

Companies need approval from both the Energy Department, which determines whether the proposed exports would be in the public interest, and FERC, which assesses safety and environmental effects of the projects’ construction and operation.

Freeport can now receive a final export permit from the Energy Department, which would allow the facility to export gas to all countries. The department issued conditional permits to Freeport last year, contingent upon the facility earning a license from FERC.

The next LNG export project likely to receive approval from FERC is Dominion Resources Inc’s Cove Point facility in Maryland. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker)

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