(Adds link to factbox, background on project)
Oct 22 (Reuters) - Venture Global LNG Inc’s Calcasieu Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana took a big step toward receiving federal approval for construction on Monday after staff at the U.S. energy regulator issued a final environmental report.
In the report, known as a final environmental impact statement, staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded that “construction and operation of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but those impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels.”
FERC said in a release that its commissioners will take the FERC staff’s recommendations into consideration when they make a decision on the project. FERC did not say when the commissioners would make that decision.
The project includes the liquefaction facilities, two storage tanks with a capacity of about 200,000 cubic meters, a 720-megawatt power plant, a marine terminal and the TransCameron pipeline connecting the plant with the interstate gas system.
Venture Global is developing the Calcasieu Pass facility to be able to liquefy about 10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of natural gas, or about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd). One billion cubic feet is enough gas to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.
Calcasieu Pass is one of dozens of LNG export terminals that could be built in the United States, Canada and Mexico over the next decade to meet growing global demand for the fuel.
The United States became a net exporter of natural gas, including LNG, for the first time in 60 years in 2017. Looking at only the plants currently under construction, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 8.3 bcfd by the end of 2019 and 9.6 bcfd in 2020 from around 3.8 bcfd in service now.
Last week, Venture Global said it entered into an agreement to supply Polish Oil and Gas Co (PGNiG) with LNG for 20 years starting in 2022 when Calcasieu Pass is expected to enter commercial service and 2023 when Venture Global’s 20-MTPA Plaquemines LNG export facility in Louisiana is expected to enter service.
Venture Global said other partners looking to buy gas from its proposed LNG export facilities include units of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Edison SpA, Galp Energia SGPS SA, BP PLC and Repsol SA.
Venture Global said its liquefaction systems will use technology from General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes unit.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao