Affiliates of Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) have been cleared by FERC to begin commissioning fuel for the Elba Island LNG Terminal near Savannah, GA.

Elba Liquefaction Co. LLC (ELC) and Southern LNG Co. LLC received authorization "to proceed with introduction of fuel gas to commission the HF-LF flare pilot system," the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a letter issued late Friday [CP14-103].

In 2016, FERC approved KMI's plan to add liquefaction and export capability to the existing Elba Island LNG Terminal and make modifications to existing pipelines in support of the project, which is expected to cost an estimated $2 billion.

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The first of 10 liquefaction units is expected to be placed in service this quarter, with the remaining nine units coming online throughout 2019, according to KMI.

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which is supported by a 20-year contract with Royal Dutch Shell plc, received a favorable environmental review three years ago. When the liquefaction project is complete, the terminal will have the capability to both export and import LNG. The liquefaction project is expected to have a total capacity of 2.5 million metric tons/year of LNG for export.

Last year, KMI announced that investment funds managed by EIG Global Energy Partners (EIG) had become a 49% joint venture participant in ELC.