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Sempra LNG Terminal Plan Clears FERC Environmental

Source: Bloomberg 5/5/2014, Location: North America

Sempra Energy plan to export liquefied natural gas won’t cause major environmental damage, a U.S. regulator said, adding support for lawmakers seeking to speed fuel shipments and cut Russia’s grip on European supplies.

The staff of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found Sempra’s proposed Cameron LNG export facility in western Louisiana “would not result in significant impacts” to the environment, according to an agency notice today. However, it said, “some long-term and permanent environmental impacts would occur.” The commission is set to issue a final decision on the project by late July.

If approved, Cameron would be the second export terminal to pass the FERC’s review. Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG)’s Sabine Pass project won approval in April 2012, after clearing a similar environmental review.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have pushed to expedite approval of liquefied natural gas export terminals to send the fuel to Europe and reduce its reliance on Russia’s energy supplies after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region last month. In addition to the FERC-led environmental review, the projects need Energy Department approval to ship to nations without a free-trade agreement with the U.S.

The Cameron project, which may cost as much as $10 billion, won Energy Department backing in February. It’s scheduled to begin liquefying gas in late 2017 and be fully operational by 2018, according to San Diego-based Sempra.

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