FERC has given Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG LP permission to perform commissioning activities and approved a pair of variance requests at its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility on the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, MD.

In a letter order Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved plans by Dominion to introduce and perform commissioning activities for mixed refrigerants and propane refrigeration systems, LNG piping to existing LNG tanks, and permanent fuel gas piping, as well as all supporting systems [CP13-113].

The authorization does not grant approval for commencement of service. FERC asked Dominion to “file weekly reports on the ongoing commissioning activities once LNG is produced until the Commission authorizes commencement of service.”

In a separate letter order Tuesday, FERC granted Dominion a variance to install an additional source of temporary backup fuel adjacent to each flare system, and to install temporary diesel-powered air compressors to back up the instrument air system at the facility.

Last August, the company requested permission to introduce feed gas to the facility’s pre-treatment and liquefaction areas, and to proceed with setting up equipment for ship loading, including LNG loading pumps and return-gas blowers.

Dominion reported on its website last month that the project was 95% complete. The facility, which would source gas from the Marcellus Shale, would be bidirectional, offering import and export capability, with capacity to handle 750 MMcf/d. The facility was expected to be in commercial service by the end of the year.