Sempra Energy has asked federal regulators for permission to reexport liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Cameron LNG import terminal in Louisiana. If approved by FERC, the terminal would join Freeport, TX, and Sabine Pass, LA, terminals in its ability to reexport LNG shipments.

Allowing LNG to be reexported would give customers the ability to store imported gas at the terminal and then export it at a later time to higher-paying markets, Sempra said last week in a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"Sempra is seeking authorization to export for a two-year period up to 250 Bcf of LNG that has been imported into the United States from foreign sources," the FERC filing indicated. Sempra made a similar filing with the Department of Energy (DOE).

Approval is requested by the end of the year to allow the company to put reexport facilities in place by Feb. 1. No new construction would be required to allow a reverse flow of LNG from the storage tanks to the seaborne tankers, the filing said.

Last year FERC approved a similar request by Freeport LNG Development LP to export LNG from its terminal on Quintana Island, TX (see Daily GPI, May 11, 2009). Cheniere Energy's reexport request to modify its Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC terminal in Cameron Parish, LA also was approved (see Daily GPI, June 2, 2009). Sabine Pass Liquefaction recently asked DOE's Office of Fossil Energy for permission to make the terminal bidirectional, which would allow for long-term LNG exports (see Daily GPI, Sept. 8; Aug. 20).

Higher LNG demand in Asia and Europe has attracted incremental spot cargoes, the Sempra filing noted.

"Several of Cameron LNG's potential customers have expressed a strong interest in delivering cargoes to Cameron LNG, if they could be assured of the flexibility to either sell gas in the U.S. or export foreign-sourced LNG for sale abroad," the filing said. "The ability to use export capability to attract cargoes is also critical to the terminal remaining in a cooled-down state so that it is operationally capable of receiving and supplying LNG to the U.S. market when it is needed."

If it is given the right to export LNG, Cameron LNG said it would be "more likely to receive cargoes even when prices are higher elsewhere, since the flexibility to sell LNG in a higher-priced market will be retained even after initial delivery."

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