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FERC Gives Environmental OK to Sempra's Cameron LNG Expansion

FERC on Friday gave the environmental green light for Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG expansion project that would add 1.15 Bcf of sendout capacity to the company's import terminal currently under construction in Hackberry, LA.

"Approval of the proposed terminal expansion project, with appropriate mitigating measures as recommended, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment," said FERC staff, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard, in an environmental assessment on the Cameron LNG expansion [CP06-422].

The proposed expansion would boost the terminal's sendout capacity to 2.65 Bcf/d from the 1.5 Bcf/d capacity now being built. The project also calls for an additional storage tank to be built, bringing the terminal's total number of storage tanks to four; the addition of a second dock, allowing for the simultaneous berthing and unloading of two ships; and additional vaporizer systems. Sempra Energy estimates the expansion will cost $250 million.

Construction on the $750 million terminal, which FERC approved in September 2003, is underway with a targeted completion in late 2008, Sempra Energy said. The terminal is sited on the Calcasieu Channel about 18 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and is located approximately 35 miles from a major pipeline junction that provides access to 65% of the U.S. natural gas markets.

The company expects the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the Cameron LNG expansion during the first quarter of 2007. The expansion has been targeted for completion in 2010, the company said, noting it is timed to be ready for what Sempra Energy sees as an expanding market at the Gulf of Mexico location.

Sempra's other LNG terminal site along the Pacific Coast of North Baja in Mexico, Energia Costa Azul, is under construction with operations anticipated to begin in early 2008.

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