A FERC official Tuesday declined to give an indication of when the agency would act on the proposed Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will issue a decision “as soon as the order’s ready,” said Jeff Wright, director off FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, during the Natural Gas Roundtable in Washington, DC. “There’s no deadline for FERC to issue…a siting [decision]…There’s statutory [deadline requirements] that deal with rate cases…but nothing that deals with siting.”

Cheniere Energy, parent of Sabine Pass Liquefaction, had asked FERC to issue a siting order at its meeting last Thursday, but the matter was noticeably absent from the agenda.

The liquefaction project would be capable of processing an average of 2.2 Bcf/d of pipeline-quality natural gas from the Creole Trail Pipeline, which interconnects with the Sabine Pass terminal.

DOE has already approved plans for Sabine Pass Liquefaction to export 2.2 Bcf/d to countries that have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States and also to non-FTA countries (see Daily GPI, Nov. 22, 2011).

As for the LNG export market, Wright said he believes that the industry sees the growth in exports taking place with the non-FTA countries. The big target markets will be in Europe and the Far East, he said.

With the economy somewhat flat and demand “not taking off right now…people who operate storage facilities are probably saying, ‘We’re choking on it [natural gas] right now,'” Wright said.

He said Mexico may have more shale gas than the United States. But the fact that the country has a “national energy agency…enshrined in the constitution doesn’t give it a whole lot of freedom to develop” the resources. In talking to his colleagues in Mexico, Wright said he has found it to be a “little bit of a sad situation there,” with Mexico “sitting on a lot but not being able to develop it.”

The buildout of the pipeline infrastructure to connect shale resources to market centers is shifting to the Marcellus from the Southeast. “You’ve seen a big buildout in the Southeast [for] shale deposits…I’m not going to say it’s over down there,” but the center of the pipeline construction activity is switching.

“You’re not going to see a lot of long lines. But you’re seeing a lot of lines that are connecting those [shale] fields to the market areas,” he said.

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