In a growing sector of smaller-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects, Louisiana-based Fourchon LNG LLC has launched a formal pre-filing request at FERC for a two-phase project that initially could export 2 million metric tons/year (mmty) and eventually up to 5 million mmty, reserving small quantities for domestic use.

The first phase is expected to cost $888 million.

The pre-filing was made to the U.S. Department of Energy by Fourchon, an entity by the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC) and Energy World USA, which announced their plans early this year.

The partners are seeking authority to export up to 260 Bcf of LNG annually from Port Fourchon, Louisiana's southernmost port and destination for nearly all of the Gulf of Mexico's deepwater oil production.

Following the pre-filing process, Fourchon intends to file for authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the facility at Port Fourchon, west of Belle Pass on a 150-acre site.

GLPC has been working with Energy World on preliminary water assessments to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements to support the FERC application. GLPC also is working with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to identify potential business and tax incentives to help ensure that the project is built within Louisiana's Bayou Region.

GLPC President Perry Gisclair cited the importance of the port continuing to grow through developments like Fourchon's and through other future expansion plans the port is pursuing. "We take our role as advocate for our existing tenants and the offshore service industry seriously," Gisclair said.

GLPC Executive Director Chett Chiasson said the LNG export project has the potential to "keep Port Fourchon at the forefront of the oil and gas service industry."

Fourchon is part of a growing trend that the Mizuho Securities LLC's energy research group surmised is part of an expansion that includes small-scale and mega projects. Smaller facilities are looking to drive down costs significantly, according to analyst Tim Rezvan. He projected that U.S. LNG exports will hit 53 Bcf/d in 2024.