In the final regulatory hurdle needed for Sempra Energy to begin re-exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Cameron LNG import terminal in Hackberry, LA, as soon as Feb. 1, FERC on Thursday approved the company's request, saying no environmental or other sensitive resources will be adversely affected since no new facilities or modifications of existing facilities are required.

Last month affiliate Sempra LNG Marketing LLC received authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE) to begin exporting previously imported LNG from the terminal (see Daily GPI, Dec. 9, 2010). The company has DOE/FE clearance to re-export up to 250 Bcf total over a two-year period.

Allowing previously imported LNG to be re-exported 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 in its filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see Daily GPI, Sept. 9, 2010). Higher LNG demand in Asia and Europe has attracted incremental spot cargoes, the Sempra filing noted. Sempra had requested approval by the end of 2010 in order to put re-export facilities in place by Feb. 1.

In 2009 FERC approved similar requests by Freeport LNG Development LP to export LNG from its terminal on Quintana Island, TX (see Daily GPI, May 11, 2009) and by Cheniere Energy to modify its Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC terminal in Cameron Parish, LA, for re-exporting (see Daily GPI, June 2, 2009). Sabine Pass Liquefaction recently asked DOE/FE for permission to make its terminal bidirectional, which would allow for long-term LNG exports (see Daily GPI, Sept. 8, 2010; Aug. 20, 2010).

Sabine Pass Liquefaction is in talks with EDF Trading for it to contract between 0.7 and 1.5 million metric tons per year of bidirectional processing capacity at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, Cheniere said Thursday (see related story).

Sempra recently completed its first re-export of an LNG cargo from its Energia Costa Azul terminal on the Pacific Coast of North Baja California, Mexico (see Daily GPI, Jan. 10).

Sempra subsidiary Cameron LNG LLC had been scheduled to complete an expansion of its LNG terminal by this month; in December FERC approved an order giving the company until Jan. 18, 2012 to have the expansion in service (see Daily GPI, Dec. 27, 2010). Cameron LNG plans to expand the sendout capacity of the terminal to about 2.65 Bcf/d from its existing 1.5 Bcf/d. The existing terminal facilities went into operation in July 2009.

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