The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has approved a long-term application to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Delfin LNG LLC project, which would be the nation’s first offshore liquefaction project.

Exports to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries in the amount of 1.8 Bcf/d were approved from Delfin’s proposed offshore Louisiana floating LNG terminal in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

Development of the Delfin project offshore Cameron Parish, LA, would include construction of floating liquefaction and storage vessels. Due to its offshore location, the environmental review of Delfin was led by the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Delfin has said it expects the terminal to be operational in 2020.

The Delfin port would be located in federal waters within the Outer Continental Shelf, about 37.4 to 40.8 nautical miles off the coast of Cameron Parish. The facility would incorporate onshore components subject to FERC jurisdiction. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a draft environmental impact statement for the project last summer. The Commission has yet to approve the onshore facilities.

DOE said it conducted an extensive review of the non-FTA export application and considered the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts, including macroeconomic studies that showed positive benefits to the U.S. economy in scenarios with LNG exports up to 28 Bcf/d.

“The department determined that exports from the Delfin LNG terminal, jointly owned by the India and Singapore-based Fairwood Group and the U.S.-based Peninsula group, for a period of 20 years, was not inconsistent with the public interest,” DOE said.