FERC staff will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for TC Energy Corp.'s proposed Louisiana XPress (LAXP) natural gas pipeline project, which would provide open access firm transportation service through the expansion of existing capacity on Columbia Gulf Transmission's current pipeline system.

In a notice issued Wednesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it will accept comments on the proposed project through Sept. 27 [CP19-488]. A public scoping session is scheduled in Alexandria, LA, on Sept. 11.

The project, proposed by Columbia affiliate TC Energy last month, would include construction of three new greenfield compressor stations, modifications at one existing compressor station and related facilities to create 493 MMcf/d of incremental mainline capacity on the Columbia system.

Columbia held a binding open season last year, and has executed a binding precedent agreement with a shipper to provide 800 MMcf/d of long term firm transportation service, providing the required market support for the project. That capacity will provide transportation service to the Sabine Pass Liquefaction export terminal in Cameron Parish, LA, where Cheniere Energy is progressing on plans for Train 6, Columbia said.

Columbia is seeking approval from FERC by July 1, 2020, in order to build the project and commence service by Feb. 1, 2022.

The estimated cost of the Louisiana XPress project is $472 million.