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Energy Department Approves Gulf Coast Exports of Liquefied Natural Gas

May 20, 2011 - 12:00am

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Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Energy today issued a conditional authorization approving an application to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana, paving the way for thousands of new construction and domestic natural gas production jobs in Louisiana, Texas, and several other states.  Subject to final environmental and regulatory approval, Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC will retrofit an existing LNG import terminal in Louisiana so that it can also be used for exports.  This is the first long-term authorization to export natural gas from the lower 48 states as LNG to all U.S. trading partners.

"Our long term economic strength depends on safely and responsibly harnessing America's domestic energy resources while developing new and innovative clean energy technologies," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  "This project reflects a broad, 'all of the above' approach that will put Americans to work producing the energy the world needs."

"Cheniere Energy's plan to transform its existing terminal into a facility that can both import and export liquefied natural gas is a precedent-setting breakthrough that will bring substantial economic benefits to southwest Louisiana," U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu said.  "It will help the region round out its recovery from Hurricanes Rita and Ike and move on to a bright economic future.  We are grateful that following a thorough review, the Department of Energy and Secretary Chu recognize the immense value of this worthwhile project."

Project sponsors expect approximately 3,000 jobs will be created or sustained during the design, engineering, and construction of the project, and an estimated 150 to 250 full-time positions will be required to operate and maintain the Project.  In addition, they estimate 30,000 to 50,000 permanent jobs would be supported in the exploration and production sector associated with natural gas upstream development.

Additional Background:

In August 2010, Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC filed a two-part application requesting authority to export up to 803 billion cubic feet per year of domestically produced natural gas as LNG for a period of 20 years.  On September 10, 2010, the Department approved these exports to 15 countries with which the U.S. already has a Free Trade Agreement covering natural gas.  Today the Department is extending this authorization to include all other countries except those that lack the ability to receive imports or those with which trade is prohibited by U.S. law or policy. 

In issuing a conditional authorization for exports to non-free trade agreement countries, the Department considers a number of factors, including the impact of exports on domestic supply.  In the event the Department receives subsequent applications for LNG export, it will closely examine the cumulative impacts of additional exports on the domestic market.

View the approval document (pdf - 286 kb).

Media contact(s):

(202) 586-4940

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