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Three LNG Export Approvals Granted

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently granted three separate authorizations for the export of domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) to SB Power Solutions Inc. (SPS), Gulf LNG Liquefaction Co. LLC and Southern LNG Co. LLC. Exports are to be allowed to countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA).

Southern was granted long-term, multi-contract authority to export LNG by ship from the Elba Island terminal in Savannah, GA (see NGI, May 21). Gulf LNG was granted the same authority to export from the Gulf LNG Energy LLC terminal in Pascagoula, MS. SB Power was granted long-term, multi-contract authority to export containerized LNG to FTA nations Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Gulf LNG was granted authority to export up to the equivalent of 547.5 Bcfe per year for a 25-year term. Southern's approval is also for 25 years and is for up to the equivalent of 182.5 Bcf per year.

"SPS is authorized to export domestically produced and previously imported LNG in approved ISO [International Standards Organization] containers transported by ocean-going vessel from the Atlantic Coast, including Florida, and the Gulf Coast, including Texas, up to the equivalent of 26.78 Bcf of natural gas per year for a 25-year term...," the DOE order said. SPS plans to buy LNG on both a spot basis and under long-term contract from suppliers, including utilities, that have excess natural gas and LNG, according to the order.

Last summer DOE approved the containerized export of LNG to FTA countries by Carib Energy (USA) LLC (see NGI, Aug. 8, 2011). Exports of LNG to FTA countries are deemed to be in the public interest, entitling them to what is essentially automatic approval by DOE.

In April DOE approved the first application for Cheniere Energy units Sabine Pass LNG and Sabine Pass Liquefaction to export LNG to non-FTA countries (see NGI, April 23). Since then DOE has put the non-FTA permitting process on hold while it awaits the completion of the second half of a two-part study to assess the impact of LNG exports on the economy, including domestic gas prices, job creation, gross domestic product and the balance of trade. The results of the study are due by late summer.

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