Golden Pass Products LLC has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Golden Pass LNG receiving terminal at Sabine Pass, TX, to countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA). The application joins those of several other parties to do the same.

The proposed project involves construction of liquefaction and export capabilities at the existing Golden Pass LNG facility. A final investment decision will be made following government and regulatory approvals, Golden Pass said. Project shareholders include Qatar Petroleum International (70%) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (30%).

The proposed project would have the capacity to send out approximately 15.6 million tons of LNG per year. New infrastructure required to export would be located on the existing property, which currently contains two berths for LNG tankers, five storage tanks and access to the Golden Pass pipeline. The expanded facility would then have the capability and flexibility to both import and export natural gas.

Applications to export LNG to FTA countries are presumed to be in the public interest and are routinely granted. Golden Pass said it also plans to apply to export LNG to non-FTA countries. DOE has more authority over these applications and is withholding further approvals until it finishes evaluating the effect exports might have on domestic gas markets. However, lawmakers have urged DOE to step up the pace of export approvals (see Daily GPI, Aug. 8).

Ken Medlock, a Baker Institute energy fellow at Rice University in Houston, said the United States will be "lucky to see more than 1 Bcf/d" of exports 10 years from now. "I don't think it's going to be a huge number," he told NGI. However, linking the United States with global gas markets would create the opportunity for global gas players to hedge some of their risk in the U.S. market (see Daily GPI, Aug. 9).

If developed, the Golden Pass project would represent about $10 billion of investment on the Gulf Coast. The project would generate about 9,000 construction jobs over five years with peak construction employment reaching about 3,000 jobs, Golden Pass said.

Federal permits must be obtained from the DOE and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). DOE permits are required for export shipments and under the Natural Gas Act. FERC has the final authority to approve the siting of facilities for import or export of natural gas.

The Golden Pass LNG import terminal and pipeline were completed and became operational in 2010 (see Daily GPI, May 11, 2001; Nov. 2, 2010).

Golden Pass Products LLC is affiliated with Golden Pass Terminal LLC and Golden Pass Pipeline LLC, which since 2005 have constructed and operated the LNG import facility and distribution pipeline at Sabine Pass. Houston-based Golden Pass Products was formed by affiliates of Qatar Petroleum International and Exxon Mobil.

Last week Excelerate Energy received DOE authorization to export LNG to FTA countries from its Lavaca Bay LNG project (see Daily GPI, Aug. 14).

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