(Reuters) – Kinder Morgan Inc’s proposed Gulf liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Mississippi took a step toward receiving federal approval for construction on Wednesday after staff at the federal energy regulator prepared an environmental report.
Construction and operation of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but those “would be avoided or reduced to less-than-significant levels” if the company follows some recommendations, staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in the report, known as a final environmental impact statement.
The FERC commissioners take the staff’s recommendations into consideration when they decide on the project.
Kinder Morgan has not yet made a final investment decision to build the plant.
Gulf LNG is designed to have two liquefaction trains that together will produce up to 10.8 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG, which is roughly 1.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas. One billion cubic feet is enough gas to fuel about 5 million homes for a day.
Gulf LNG is one of dozens of LNG export terminals under development in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The United States, which was a net importer of LNG before U.S. LNG company Cheniere Energy Inc shipped its first cargo from Sabine Pass in Louisiana in February 2016, became the third biggest exporter of the super-cooled fuel by capacity in 2018, behind Australia and Qatar.
Looking at only the plants currently under construction, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to rise to 8.5 bcfd by the end of 2019 and 10.0 bcfd in 2020 from 5.2 bcfd now.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Bernadette Baum