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WASHINGTON – The Energy Department announced today that it has conditionally authorized Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction, LLC (Freeport) to export additional volumes of domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States from the Freeport LNG Terminal in Quintana Island, Texas. Freeport previously received approval to export 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day (Bcf/d) of LNG from this facility to non-FTA countries on May 17, 2013. The Freeport Expansion application was next in the order of precedence after the Energy Department conditionally authorized Dominion’s proposed Cove Point facility in September 2013. Subject to environmental review and final regulatory approval, the facility is conditionally authorized to export an additional 0.4 Bcf/d, for a total rate of up to 1.8 Bcf/d, for a period of 20 years.
The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country. This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a total natural gas production rate of 70.3 Bcf/d in 2013.
Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the United States. For countries that do not have an FTA with the United States, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorizations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”
The Energy Department conducted an extensive, careful review of the application to export LNG from the Freeport LNG Terminal. Among other factors, the Department considered the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts - as well as public comments for and against the application and nearly 200,000 public comments related to the associated analysis of the cumulative impacts of increased LNG exports – and determined that additional volume of exports from the terminal at a rate of up to 0.4 Bcf/d for a period of 20 years was not inconsistent with the public interest.
The full conditional authorization can be found HERE.
The Path Forward on LNG Export Applications
The Energy Department will continue to process the applications currently pending on a case-by-case basis, in the order of precedence previously detailed. During this time, the Department will continue to monitor any market developments and assess their impact in subsequent public interest determinations as further information becomes available, including the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook Report at the end of 2013.