Energy & Environment

First natural gas export to depart United States

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The first export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the contiguous United States is due to depart from Louisiana Wednesday, the company making the shipment said.

Cheniere Energy Partners announced earlier Wednesday that the LNG carrier Asia Vision was being loaded with gas at the Sabine Pass terminal on Louisiana’s coast. It is headed for Brazil.

{mosads}The Sabine Pass facility is the first in the lower 48 states to complete construction on a gas liquefaction system, known as a train.

“This historic event opens a new chapter for the country in energy trade and is a significant milestone for Cheniere as we prepare Train 1 for commercial operations,” Neal Shear, head of Cheniere, said in a statement.

Meg Gentle, vice president of marketing at the company, broke the news in Houston at CeraWeek, an oil and gas industry gathering, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“They’re still loading it at Sabine Pass and it’s expected to depart the facility later today as it makes its way to Brazil,” she said.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz also welcomed the development in his speech Wednesday at the Houston event.

LNG exports took on a leading role in national debates over energy and foreign policy in recent years. Many lawmakers see exports as a way to aid United States allies who rely on unfriendly countries for gas, while helping the domestic gas industry and hurting major energy powers like Russia.

Congress debated various ways to encourage more exports but did not pass any legislation. The Energy Department, which has to approve any exports to countries without a United States free-trade agreement, reformed its process for considerations in an attempt to streamline it.

Some environmentalists objected, citing the harms from hydraulic fracturing and the climate impacts of natural gas.

The Sabine Pass terminal cost $18 billion to build and is located in Louisiana’s Cameron Parish. It can hold up to six liquefaction trains, which would each be able to chill 4.5 million tons of gas annually to about negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit, compressing it into liquid.

Tags Ernest Moniz Natural gas natural gas exports

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