The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a final authorization for Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project (Corpus Christi) to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have free trade agreements (FTA) with the United States.

Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC and Cheniere Marketing LLC are authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.1 Bcf/d of natural gas for a period of 20 years. DOE said that in reviewing the project it considered the economic, energy security and environmental impacts, and determined that exports at a rate of up to 2.1 Bcf/d for a period of 20 years was not inconsistent with the public interest.

According to data compiled by ClearView Energy Partners LLC, the Corpus Christi non-FTA approval brings the total volume of exports to non-FTA countries authorized by DOE to 8.61 Bcf/d. Exports from Corpus Christi are expected to begin in 2018. Earlier this month DOE granted non-FTA export authorization to Dominion Cove Point LNG LP for its terminal in Calvert County, MD (see Daily GPI, May 7).

The Corpus Christi project is to be sited on the northern shore of the La Quinta Channel north and east of the City of Corpus Christi, TX. The prefiling process for the project began at FERC in December 2011. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order authorizing the project at the end of last year (see Daily GPI,Dec. 31, 2014) and on May 6 denied a request for rehearing that had been filed by the Sierra Club.

The project was the first greenfield LNG export terminal to win FERC approval, the previous approvals having been granted to projects at existing import terminal sites that were repurposed to also export.

The liquefaction and export terminal has been designed to produce 782 MMBtu per year of LNG for export, and includes a small amount of LNG regasification capacity for the import of LNG (about 400,000 MMBtu/d). The project is to include three ConocoPhillips Optimized Cascade LNG trains (LNG Trains 1, 2 and 3). Each train is to have a nominal liquefaction capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG, for a total anticipated export of up to 15 mtpa of LNG from the project on an annual basis.

The associated Cheniere Pipeline is to be a 23-mile, 48-inch diameter, bi-directional pipeline from the terminal to a point near the City of Sinton, TX. It would transport gas to the terminal for liquefaction and export, as well as transport regasified imported LNG to interconnections with the existing pipeline systems of Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline LLC, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp., and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. The pipeline would have a peak capacity of 2.25 Bcf/d. Two compressor stations, and six metering and regulation stations also are proposed along the pipeline.

Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in Texas is nearing completion to become the first operational Lower 48 export facility later this year (see Daily GPI, April 28; Oct. 30, 2014).