Commonwealth LNG’s export terminal proposed in Louisiana has become the first project to be authorized in more than two years after receiving unanimous FERC approval Thursday.

Houston-based Commonwealth has not yet sanctioned the 8.4 million metric ton/year (mmty) facility. It would be sited in Cameron Parish, LA, along the Calcasieu Ship Channel, potentially adding to the region’s already prolific output of liquefied natural gas.

After formalizing a 2.5 mmty offtake agreement with Australia’s Woodside Energy Group Ltd. in September, Commonwealth management indicated cargo loading could begin by mid-2026. More than 75% of the project’s nameplate capacity could be under binding or nonbinding agreements.

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Industry advocates took the project’s approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a possible shift by regulators. LNG Allies CEO Fred Hutchison said the Commission recognized the progress developers have made in social and environmental responsibility and the “tremendous local, national and global benefits” of terminals.

The Commonwealth LNG decision, Hutchinson said, “shows – once again – that U.S. LNG export projects enjoy broad, bipartisan support across the federal government.”

The project’s approval also came after FERC staff included possible environmental justice considerations for the development in its final environmental impact statement. Commonwealth submitted its official filing to federal regulators in 2019, outlining six LNG storage tanks, one marine loading berth and a 3.04-mile long, 30-inch diameter pipeline.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February has increased the visibility and profitability of U.S. projects over the past several months as global commodities have skyrocketed. However, most of the new long-term offtake contracts signed with U.S. export projects this year have been with large portfolio players and Asian customers.
Woodside’s decision to increase its volumes of U.S. supply with offtake from Commonwealth also coincided with framework agreements to secure more than 0.8 mmty of LNG for Germany’s Uniper SE.

FERC also approved an extension for Delfin Midstream LLC, giving the Houston firm until September 2023 to build and launch its onshore infrastructure to feed its floating LNG (FLNG) terminal. Delfin’s first phase for the FLNG project calls for four vessels outfitted with modular liquefaction trains and positioned offshore of Louisiana. Each vessel would have a nameplate capacity of 3.5 mmty.