Widespread support has been expressed at FERC for Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC's application to add a new liquefaction operation to its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Cameron Parish, LA, transforming it into a "bidirectional facility" for the purpose of exporting LNG. Some parties, such as Chevron U.S.A. Inc., said their support was conditioned on Sabine Pass responding to a series of questions. A trade group representing municipal gas utilities lodged the only protest to the project.

"Exportation of substantial quantities of natural gas will have significant adverse implications for domestic consumers of natural gas, for U.S. energy supply, and national security. Therefore Sabine Pass' request for authority to construct and operate natural gas liquefaction and export facilities is inconsistent with the public interest and should be denied," the American Public Gas Association (APGA) told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [CP11-72].

"The export of natural gas is inconsistent with a policy of energy independence. Instead of exporting domestic natural gas, the United States should maximize its use domestically in order to displace the current reliance on imported petroleum products and carbon-intensive coal," the group said. The APGA also has asked the Department of Energy to reject Sabine Pass' request for authority to export LNG from the Cameron Parish facility.

The proposed liquefaction facility, when completed, would have the capability to export approximately 2.2 Bcf/d on average over a period of one year (see Daily GPI, Jan. 21).

An existing customer of the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, Chevron said it "generally supports" the addition of liquefaction capabilities to the terminal, but it "seeks a better understanding of the liquefaction project, the types of services that will be made available as a result of the liquefaction project, and how the project might impact the rights and opportunities of existing shippers, such as Chevron, at the [Sabine Pass] LNG terminal."

It has called on the Commission to pose a number of questions to Sabine Pass Liquefaction, including 1) how will the bidirectional facilities with both liquefaction and regasification capabilities be commercially operated; 2) will the LNG produced by the liquefaction project be solely for export or will some of the LNG potentially be regasfied and delivered back into interstate pipelines for domestic use; and 3) what type of tariff structure is anticipated.

Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC (KMLP) said it supported the liquefaction project. However, it urged FERC to ensure that the proposed facilities are not constructed in a manner that could discriminate against KMLP or other pipelines in favor of Creole Trail Pipeline, an affiliate of the Sabine Pass LNG terminal. Both are subsidiaries of Cheniere Energy Partners LP.

KMLP is interconnected with the Sabine Pass LNG terminal and receives regasfied natural gas from the facilities and moves it to various delivery points along its system.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. said it was solidly behind the project. "The project would enable Chesapeake and other producers to export natural gas to markets around the world. This would provide producers with the income necessary to support their continued investments in domestic natural gas resources. By balancing domestic needs with opportunities to market surplus supplies, the Sabine Pass project would help the industry maintain employment and a highly skilled workforce and increase revenues for states, the federal government and royalty holds," the producer said.

The Gulf Coast Environmental labor Coalition, whose chief concern is protecting and preserving the Gulf Coast, called on FERC to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) of the liquefaction project. In October 2010 the agency signaled that it planed to conduct only an environmental assessment, rather than an EIS.

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