FERC has granted Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc.'s request to begin service for liquefaction and export activities from the Train 1 and associated Stage 1 outside battery limits facilities at its Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in South Texas.

Based on inspections and a review of commissioning activities, Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC has demonstrated that the facilities "have been constructed in accordance with Commission approval and applicable standards and can be expected to operate safely as designed," according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing Friday [CP12-507].

In January, FERC approved the introduction of gas and commissioning of the fuel gas system at the Gulf Coast facility.

The Corpus facility initially consists of three large-scale trains and supporting infrastructure, with an additional seven smaller trains proposed. Train 1 produced its first gas in November, and the first cargo set sail in December.

Train 2 is expected to be nearly completed in the second half of this year, with completion of the third train set for the second half of 2021.

The facility is to have three LNG storage tanks with about 10.1 Bcfe total capacity, as well as two marine berths. The seven smaller trains now under development would increase the total expected nominal production capacity of the facility to about 23 million metric tons/year (mmty).

Corpus is Cheniere's second export project, and it would be the third domestic facility to carry Lower 48 supply to international markets.

Cheniere's Sabine Pass export facility in Cameron Parish, LA, a four-train project with 18 mmty of capacity, has been in operation since 2016. Dominion Cove Point LNG on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, with 5.3 mmty of capacity, began commercial service last spring.

Cheniere issued a final investment decision in 2018 to build a third train at the South Texas project.