Sempra Energy officially broke ground on the company’s Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) project on Thursday, just weeks after receiving final authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that cleared the way for it to export up to 1.7 Bcf/d of domestically produced LNG to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries (see Daily GPI, Sept. 10).
The company was joined by hundreds of community, business and international leaders for a formal groundbreaking ceremony, including representatives of major customers that will purchase LNG exports from the facility, such as Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co., both of Japan, and France-based GDF Suez SA. Those three companies hold long-term agreements to purchase from Cameron LNG, located in Hackberry, LA, and also have minority ownership stakes in the facility along with shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, an affiliate of Mitsubishi, also based in Japan.
Cameron LNG CEO Farhad Ahrabi said he looks forward to 2018 when the first LNG cargo will be loaded for export to global markets. The project will consist of three liquefaction trains, which are all expected to begin operations in 2018, with the first full year of operations starting in 2019.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hailed the company's investment in his state and said its ability to complete significant purchasing agreements with major international companies was a testament to Louisiana's energy infrastructure.
"Cameron Parish feels fortunate to not only have a substantial economic investment infrastructure-wise by Cameron LNG at their Hackberry location, but also in our residents and communities parish-wide," said Cameron Parish Police Jury President Kirk Quinn. "When it comes to economic, environmental and cultural impacts, it seems as though Cameron LNG has done their due diligence."
The facility is expected to create 3,000 jobs during the peak-year of construction, according to Sempra, while another 200 full-time jobs will be created in Louisiana and Texas when it's fully operational.
Louisiana Economic Development also estimates that an additional 657 indirect jobs will be created in the region during and after construction.
Earlier this year, Cameron LNG received authorization from FERC to site, construct and operate the facility (see Daily GPI, June 19). So far, DOE has approved nine non-FTA export projects, but 26 applications still remain under review at the agency.