The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said it will allow Emera CNG LLC to export domestically produced compressed natural gas (CNG) to countries that do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.

On Monday, the DOE issued a final opinion [Order No. 3737] granting Emera -- a unit of Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Emera Inc. -- to export the equivalent of 2.92 Bcf/year (0.008 Bcf/d) of natural gas to non-FTA countries for a 20-year term.

"We have reviewed the evidence in the record and have not found an adequate basis to conclude that Emera's proposed exports of CNG to non-FTA countries will be inconsistent with the public interest," DOE said.

The department added that while the American Public Gas Association (APGA) voiced opposition to the CNG exports, it was the only organization to do so. DOE said APGA had "failed to overcome the statutory presumption that the requested export authorization is consistent with the public interest."

In November 2013, Emera filed two separate applications with DOE's Office of Fossil Energy, for CNG exports to both FTA and non-FTA countries (see Daily GPIDec. 24, 2013). On both applications, the company sought permission to export the equivalent of up to 9.125 Bcf/year (0.025 Bcf/d) of natural gas by vessel from a proposed natural gas compression and loading facility at the Port of Palm Beach, in Riviera Beach, FL.

Emera said the facility, which it hopes to have completed in 2015, would initially be capable of loading 2.92 Bcf/year (0.008 Bcf/d) but could be expanded to handle 9.125 Bcf/year (0.025 Bcf/d). The company was awarded permission to export the equivalent of up to 9.125 Bcf/year (0.025 Bcf/d) of natural gas to FTA countries, also for a 20-year term, in June 2014 [Order No. 3447].

Emera has said the primary purpose for its CNG exports would be to provide fuel to power generation facilities on Grand Bahama Island, in the Bahamas. The CNG would go to unloading and decompression facilities owned by another Emera Inc. affiliate, the Grand Bahama Power Co., at Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island.