Backers of the Cameron Liquefaction Project have decided to proceed with construction of facilities necessary for export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the existing Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, LA.

Sempra LNG, GDF SUEZ SA, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp., through a related company established with Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), each have approved a final investment decision for the project.

Project cost is estimated at $10 billion, including contribution of the existing Cameron LNG facilities, construction of the new facilities and financing cost. Financing commitments for the project total $7.4 billion and will be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and a group of 29 commercial banks.

“This represents one of the largest project financings in the U.S.,” said Sempra LNG President Octavio M.C. Simoes. “Today’s commitments from our project sponsors and international banks put us one step closer to delivering domestic natural gas to America’s trading partners in Europe and Japan.”

The three-train natural gas liquefaction facilities will have an export capability of 12 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG, or 1.7 Bcf/d of gas. Subject to final regulatory approval, satisfaction of conditions of the initial equity funding and first disbursement of the financing, construction on the project is expected to begin later this year. All three trains are expected to commence operation during 2018, with the first full year of operation in 2019.

Earlier this year, Cameron LNG received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to site, construct and operate the liquefaction facilities (see Daily GPI, June 19) and was awarded conditional authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export LNG to non-free-trade-agreement countries, including Japan and European nations (see Daily GPI, Feb. 11). A final authorization from DOE is expected later this year.

Subject to the finalization of permits and other conditions to the equity and debt financing, Sempra Energy will have an indirect 50.2% ownership interest in Cameron LNG and the related liquefaction project, and the remaining portion will be owned by affiliates of GDF SUEZ, Mitsubishi (through a related company jointly established with NYK) and Mitsui, each with 16.6% stakes.