FERC has issued a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Driftwood LNG project, which calls for construction and operation of a 26 million metric ton/year (mmty) liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility near Lake Charles, LA, and a 96-mile pipeline connecting the facility to interstate pipelines.

The project would result in adverse environmental impacts, according to the the DEIS, which was released Friday by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff [CP17-117 and CP17-118]. “However, with the exception of the visual impact on residents near the LNG facility, which we conclude would be significant, impacts on the environment, would be reduced to less than significant levels with the implementation of Driftwood’s proposed impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by staff.”

Driftwood parent Tellurian Inc. said it expects a final EIS early next year, with a final investment decision in the first half of 2019 and operations to begin in 2023.

“Publication of the draft EIS is a significant milestone in the regulatory process for the project and was completed ahead of the FERC’s recently updated schedule,” said Tellurian CEO Meg Gentle. “We continue to work in partnership with all the regulatory agencies to complete the final environmental impact statement by January 2019 and begin construction of the Driftwood Project thereafter, with approximately $30 billion of infrastructure investment and nearly 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in at least 18 States.”

Driftwood LNG LLC and Driftwood Pipeline LLC formally filed at FERC in March 2017.

The Driftwood terminal would require up to 4 Bcf/d of feed gas to export 26 mmty, the company said in prefiling documents at the Commission.

The liquefaction facility would consist of five LNG plants with each plant composed of one gas pre-treatment unit and four liquefaction units. The pipeline, which would include three compressor stations, a lateral pipeline and up to 15 meter stations, would extend westward from a proposed interconnect with the existing pipeline system of Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC (CGT) located 4.5 miles south of Ville Platte, LA, then traverse Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, Acadia and Evangeline parishes for 96 miles to the LNG facility near Carlyss, LA.

Earlier this month, FERC issued environmental schedules for a dozen pending LNG terminal projects, including Driftwood. FERC also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to coordinate the siting and safety review of FERC-jurisdictional LNG facilities.

FERC will accept public comment on the Driftwood DEIS through Nov. 5.