DOE clears natural gas exports at two sites

The Department of Energy Wednesday granted approval for two facilities in Louisiana and Florida to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to nearly any country.

Sempra Energy’s existing Cameron LNG project in southwestern Louisiana will be allowed to export 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas per day once the company installs the necessary equipment.

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The Carib Energy plant in Martin County, Fla., has been granted a license to export 40 million cubic feet a day.

The DOE is legally obligated to review every application to export LNG to countries with which the United States does not have a free-trade agreement, to determine whether the exports would be in the public interest.

The Louisiana and Florida facilities were evaluated under a new process implemented in August in an attempt to streamline approvals.

Under intense pressure from Congress to expedite the application process, the DOE is now only looking at facilities that have already completed environmental reviews, instead of conducting the public interest determination first.

The $10 billion Cameron facility is planned as an upgrade to an existing plant designed to import gas. Carib is already exporting LNG in shipping containers to Caribbean and Central American countries with which the United States has free trade agreements.

The facilities announced Wednesday are only the second and third to obtain all the necessary approvals to export gas. Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass plant, also in southwest Louisiana, was the first.