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Wood, Kelly Attend Groundbreaking of Sabine Pass LNG Terminal

FERC Chairman Pat Wood and Commissioner Suedeen Kelly were on hand last Wednesday to celebrate the groundbreaking on Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Cameron Parish, LA. The Commission granted final permission to begin construction on the bulk of the facility last week.

"This facility on the shores of Lake Sabine is on the front lines of our nation's efforts to assure abundant, affordable supplies of natural gas for customers," Wood said in a statement released by Cheniere.

Kelly noted that the 2.6 Bcf/d terminal is the largest ever authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "At full capacity it will supply the equivalent of 3% of our nation's natural gas needs," she said.

Earlier last week, Cheniere started the National Environmental Policy Act pre-filing process at FERC on an even larger terminal -- the 3.3 Bcf/d Creole Trail project which will be located along the Calcasieu Channel in Cameron Parish, not far from Sabine Pass.

In December 2004, Cheniere received FERC approval on the Sabine Pass LNG project, which includes 480,000 cubic meters (10.1 Bcf) of storage space, two unloading docks and a $350 million gas pipeline that will carry up to 2.7 Bcf/d of regasified LNG from the terminal about 16 miles to interconnections with major interstate pipelines in southern Louisiana. Terminal operations are expected to commence in 2008.

"We filed the application for this project with FERC on Dec. 22, 2003. Fifteen months later we are celebrating a groundbreaking," said Cheniere CEO Charif Souki. "We have found the process to be fair and straightforward, and all the agencies involved at the federal, state and local level to be thorough, cooperative and very positive in their approach. We are particularly grateful to the people of Cameron Parish for welcoming us to their neighborhood, and we look forward to being a major contributor to the community."

Souki, Wood and Kelly were joined by a large number of other state and federal representatives and regulators, including community and local government representatives, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and David Vitter (R-LA), State Senator Gerald Theunissen and others.

"Not only can Cheniere's Sabine Pass facility help bring valuable jobs to Louisiana, I am also hopeful that by providing a new and more affordable supply, it will help our industries that rely on natural gas as a feedstock and the plants to run more efficiently enabling them to regain their competitive edge," Landrieu said.

There currently are plans for another 53 LNG import terminals in North America with an expected total combined peak sendout capacity of more than 57 Bcf/d. Of those 53 terminals, 11, with a total peak sendout of 13.9 Bcf/d, have received final regulatory approvals in Canada, the United States and Mexico (including two pipelines to proposed LNG ports in the Bahamas). Another 25 LNG projects are already in various stages of the regulatory approval process, and 17 additional LNG projects remain in the planning stages. For more details on LNG, go to http://intelligencepress.com/features/lng/.

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