Permit sought to build La. gas export terminal

04 02, 2012 by Associated Press

Energy Transfer Equity LP said Monday it has filed for permission from federal regulators to build its proposed natural gas export terminal at Lake Charles.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity said that if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves, construction will begin in 2014 with a target date of exporting gas in the spring of 2018.

Last August, the federal Energy Department gave the company permission to export up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day for 25 years. Energy Transfer Equity plans to modify a terminal that opened in 1981 to handle liquefied natural gas imports so it can handle exports.

Exported gas will be carried on tankers after being chilled to super-low temperatures into a liquid form, which makes it easier to transport by ship. Numerous terminals were built and planned to import LNG during gas shortages in the past decade, but attention recently has shifted to exporting part of the huge gas deposits found in U.S. shale formations.

Energy Transfer Equity said that as part of its project, it plans to extend its interstate natural gas pipeline about half a mile to provide gas for export.

At least 10 export terminals are in various stages of planning in Louisiana, Texas, Maryland and Oregon.

In May, Cheniere Energy Partners, based in Houston, was given Energy Department approval to export up to 803 billion cubic feet of gas a year from its Sabine Pass LNG terminal near the Texas border in southwestern Louisiana. Cheniere plans to spend at least $6 billion to convert the import terminal to also handle exports.

Construction of the project is awaiting FERC approval.

The Lake Charles export project was started by Southern Union Co., which was acquired on March 26 by Energy Transfer Equity for $5.7 billion.