Texas natural gas export plant gets federal permit

Federal regulators have approved Cheniere Energy Inc.’s proposal to build its second liquefied natural gas export terminal.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) cleared the way for the Corpus Christi, Texas, facility Tuesday, granting a construction permit for the plant and a related pipeline.

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“We conclude that, with the conditions required herein, Corpus Christi Liquefaction’s project results in minimal environmental impacts and can be constructed and operated safely,” FERC said.

The plant still must obtain approval from the Energy Department to export gas to countries without free trade agreements with the United States.

Under Energy Department rules revised earlier this year, the Texas plant now moves to the front of the line for officials’ consideration, since it received the FERC approval, something dozens of other proposed facilities have not gotten.

Cheniere is also developing the Sabine Pass natural gas export terminal in Louisiana, which is under construction and could next year become the first facility to ship gas to non-free-trade-agreement countries.