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DOE Issues Sabine Pass FTA Capacity True-Up Authorization

Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC (SPL) has received its fifth long-term free trade agreement (FTA) export authorization to send liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its terminal in Cameron Parish, LA. The approval aligns the volume of FTA exports authorized for the project's first four trains with the trains' FERC-approved production capacity.

SPL's FTA export authorizations now total 1,509.3 Bcf/year. Such authorizations are presumed to be in the public interest and are routinely granted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The latest approval is to export the LNG equivalent of 203 Bcf/year and represents the incremental capacity above the initial design capacity of the project's first four liquefaction trains. The authorization is additive to DOE’s previous order allowing exports from Trains 1-4, which now are authorized to export the LNG equivalent of 1,006 Bcf/year.

"This total export volume is identical to the maximum LNG production capacity approved in total by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for Trains 1-4..." DOE stated in its order [14-92-LNG].

In 2012 SPL, a unit of Cheniere Energy Inc., received FERC approval to construct Trains 1-4. However, SPL management realized that the facilities would have more capacity than originally thought and authorized by FERC. In February 2014 FERC approved an SPL application for the incremental capacity because it would require no additional construction or modification to the facilities it previously approved. DOE's Feb. 12 order, recently posted to its website, trues up the volume authorized by DOE with the total capacity authorized by FERC.

SPL's FERC application to expand the Sabine Pass terminal with Trains 5 and 6 is pending at the Commission. Sabine Pass is slated to begin operation during the fourth quarter with Trains 1-4 (see Daily GPIOct. 30, 2014). Trains 5 and 6 are expected to enter service during the third quarter of 2018.

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