U.S. OKs early site work at Venture Global Louisiana Plaquemines LNG

Oct 29 (Reuters) - U.S. liquefied natural gas company Venture Global LNG received U.S. government permission on Friday to start early site work on the company's proposed Plaquemines export plant in Louisiana.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Venture Global's Oct. 19 request to start clearing activities north of the levee at Plaquemines, located about 20 miles (32 km) south of New Orleans.

Plaquemines will likely be the first and possibly the only U.S. LNG export project to go forward in 2021 after no U.S. projects started in 2020 and a record number of North American projects started in 2019, according to analysts.

Venture Global was still waiting for the FERC to approve its request to start installing piles and pile caps for a heavy haul bridge that will allow transport of modules from offloading facilities on the Mississippi River.

In April, Venture Global said construction firm Zachry Group would work with engineering firm KBR Inc (KBR.N) to build the first phase at Plaquemines. read more

The venture, called KZJV, will install modular liquefaction trains at Plaquemines that are similar to systems being put in place at Venture Global's Calcasieu Pass LNG plant in Louisiana. read more

Venture Global said on its website that it expects financial close on Plaquemines in the fourth quarter of this year, which analysts said could allow the plant to produce its first LNG in 2024.

Financial close for Venture Global is similar to making a final investment decision for other companies: the point at which the firm decides to build the project.

Plaquemines would produce up to 20 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG. Analysts have said the plant would cost about $8.9 billion.

Chinese companies recently agreed to buy about 5 MTPA of LNG under long-term deals from Venture Global, according to government filings. read more

Venture Global has about 70 MTPA of LNG export capacity under construction or development in Louisiana, including the 10-MTPA Calcasieu plant, which should start producing LNG in test mode later this year; Plaquemines; the 20-MTPA Delta and the 20-MTPA CP2.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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