(Reuters) – Venture Global LNG Inc urged U.S. energy regulators on Tuesday to approve construction of its planned Calcasieu Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana by Jan. 22.
Venture Global told the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a filing it was “ready to commence construction of this multi-billion dollar project as soon as authorized by the Commission.”
“We have made very significant financial commitments to our vendors and suppliers, acting in reliance on the expectation the Commission will act on a timely basis in accordance with its established schedule,” Venture Global said, noting that schedule called for a decision by Jan. 22.
The Calcasieu Pass facility is designed to produce about 10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG, or about 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas. One billion cubic feet is enough gas to fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.
Calcasieu Pass, which is expected to cost an estimated $4.5 billion to build, is one of dozens of LNG export terminals that companies are seeking to build in the United States, Canada and Mexico over the next decade to meet growing global demand for the fuel.
The United States, which was a net importer of LNG before shipping its first cargo from the lower 48 states in February 2016, is expected to become the third biggest exporter of the super-cooled fuel by capacity by the end of 2019, behind Australia and Qatar.
Looking at only the plants currently under construction, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 8.9 bcfd by the end of 2019 and 10.3 bcfd in 2020 from 5.1 bcfd now. World LNG trade totaled about 42 bcfd in 2018.
Venture Global, which is also developing the 10-MTPA Plaquemines LNG export facility in Louisiana, said it expects Calcasieu Pass to enter service in 2022 and Plaquemines in 2023. Plaquemines is expected to cost an estimated $8.5 billion to build.
Venture Global said it has secured binding 20-year LNG offtake agreements from units of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Edison SpA, Galp Energia SGPS SA, BP PLC, Repsol SA and Polish Oil and Gas Co (PGNiG).
Venture Global said its liquefaction systems will use technology from General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes unit.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Tom Brown