A joint venture formed by Houston-based Southern Union and BG LNG Services LLC, a subsidiary of BG Group plc — Lake Charles Exports LLC — has received approval from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement (FTA).

Southern and BG sought the approval to export liquefied domestically produced gas in May (see Daily GPI, May 10). They also sought approval to export LNG to non-FTA countries. DOE did not approve the expanded exports, but said it will be reviewed pursuant to the Natural Gas Act.

Countries with which the United States has an FTA applicable to natural gas are Australia, Bahrain, Singapore, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, Morocco, Canada, Mexico, Oman, Peru and Jordan, according to DOE’s order.

Before it can export LNG, the company will have to construct liquefaction facilities, according to Southern Union. The joint venture plans to export 2 Bcf/d over a 25-year period, beginning on the earlier of the date of the first export or 10 years from the approval of the application.

The partnership was formed more than a year after Southern Union received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to place into service its Trunkline LNG Infrastructure Enhancement Project, which involved the installation of four ambient air vaporization units and the construction of a natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction facility at the Trunkline LNG Co. LLC regasification terminal in Lake Charles (see Daily GPI, March 16, 2010). BG LNG Services is the facility’s customer.

Earlier this year Cheniere Energy Partners LP unit Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC received DOE approval to liquefy and export U.S. gas from the existing Sabine Pass import terminal to any country that has or develops import capacity (see Daily GPI, May 23). The order expanded upon an authorization Sabine received last September that authorized exports to all current and future FTA countries (see Daily GPI, Sept. 13, 2010).

In recent days, DOE also approved authorization for Carib Energy (USA) LLC to export containerized LNG to FTA countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean (see Daily GPI, Aug. 2).

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