U.S. Oks Qatar Petroleum/ExxonMobil to Ship U.S. NatGas to Non-FTA Nations from Texas

The U.S. Department of Energy has signed an order authorizing Golden Pass Products LLC to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.

Golden Pass is jointly owned by Qatar Petroleum (70%) and ExxonMobil (30%).

Golden Pass was authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.21 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas to any non-FTA country not prohibited by U.S. law or policy from the Golden Pass Terminal near Sabine Pass, in Jefferson County, Texas.

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 Energy Department to grant export authorizations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

Gulf Coast LNG Importer Golden Pass Cleared to Export from Proposed $10 Billion Plant

Photo: Golden Pass Products Terminal, Sabine Pass, Texas

The DOE said it conducted an extensive review of the Golden Pass application, considering the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts, including macroeconomic studies that showed positive benefits to the U.S. economy in scenarios with LNG exports up to 28 Bcf/day.

The Energy Department determined that exports from Golden Pass, for a period of 20 years, was not inconsistent with the public interest.

Golden Pass – the project

Gulf Coast LNG Importer Golden Pass Cleared to Export from Proposed $10 Billion Plant

Source: Golden Pass LNG

Golden Pass is proposing to add export capabilities to its existing LNG import terminal facilities in Sabine Pass, Texas. Golden Pass sought the flexibility to import and export natural gas in response to market conditions. The project, which the company said will be integrated into the existing Golden Pass LNG import terminal, will include the addition of liquefaction facilities as well as upgrades to the existing terminal.

The new project’s estimated send out capacity would be 15.6 million tons of LNG per year. The new facility would be built on existing Golden Pass property and utilize the existing state-of-the-art tanks, berths and pipeline infrastructure.  New facilities for natural gas pre-treatment and liquefaction would be constructed.

Adding liquefaction facilities to existing site

The current Golden Pass LNG terminal facilities include five 155,000 cubic meter LNG storage tanks, two marine berths capable of offloading various sized ocean-going LNG carriers and process facilities capable of regasifying LNG to produce approximately 2 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Proposed facilities include three liquefaction process trains, each with a nominal throughput of 5.2 million metric tons per annum (MTA), associated treatment, power and utility systems, and interconnections to existing import facilities and controls.  Golden Pass would also make modifications to the existing facilities, expand the facility’s storm protection levee system and expand other various safety and security assets.

U.S. on a roll to send domestic shale gas to buyers around the globe

Higher domestic natural gas production is expected to continue to feed a growing LNG export pipeline as U.S. projects are permitted and build out. The EIA projects an average dry natural gas production rate of 73.1 Bcf/day in 2017, the second highest on record.

The Department of Energy has authorized a total of 19.2 Bcf/d of natural gas exports to non-FTA countries from planned facilities in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Maryland.  These projects, if built, would position the United States to be the dominant LNG exporter in the world, the DOE said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry commented that exporting LNG “is not only good for our economy and American jobs but also assists other countries with their energy security.”

More jobs, tax revenues

Golden Pass estimates the construction of its proposed export facility will provide 45,000 direct and indirect jobs over five years, and the project will provide 3,800 direct and indirect permanent jobs over the next 25 years of operational activity. Golden Pass also estimates the cumulative impact of construction and 25 years of operation will provide up to $2.4 billion in federal tax revenues and $1.2 billion in state tax revenues.

Last July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed $10 billion export project. The final EIS concluded GPP would have no significant impact on the environment when recommended mitigation measures are implemented, the company said in a statement.

Golden Pass is targeting exporting of LNG to begin by 2021 and ramping up to full capacity of 15.6 million tons per year by 2022.

The full final DOE authorization for Golden Pass Products LLC to export LNG can be found HERE.


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