NextDecade LLC has filed at FERC for its proposed 27 million tonne per annum (mtpa) liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, which would be sited near Brownsville, TX, at the Port of Brownsville, along with an associated 137-mile pipeline system from the Agua Dulce Hub.

The Woodlands, TX-based company said it is now “in an excellent position to sign offtake agreements and declare final investment decision in 2017” for Rio Grande LNG and the Rio Bravo Pipeline.

“Despite recent low oil and gas prices, we have found robust appetite for U.S. LNG on a long-term basis all around the world,” said NextDecade CEO Kathleen Eisbrenner. “This interest reaffirms the price competitiveness of U.S. LNG for customers looking to diversify their gas supply on a global level.”

The project is proposed for a 1,000-acre industrial site in Cameron County on the Port of Brownsville and represents a potential investment of up to $20 billion.

The terminal would entail six liquefaction trains, each with a nominal capacity of 4.5 mtpa (i.e., a long-term average of approximately 0.6 Bcf/d), four LNG tanks (each with a capacity of 180,000 cubic meters), two marine jetties for ocean-going LNG vessels (with capacities ranging from 125,000 to 185,000 cubic meters), one turning basin, and four LNG and two natural gas liquids truck-loading bays, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing [CP16-454, 455].

LNG to be loaded onto trucks at the terminal would be used solely for the purpose of supplying LNG to truck-fueling facilities in South Texas and would not be regasified and reintroduced into the U.S. pipeline system.

Pipeline facilities would include twin 42-inch diameter pipelines running parallel, three 180,000 hp compressor stations, two 30,000 hp interconnect booster stations, six mainline valve sites, four metering sites along a 2.4-mile-long header system, as well as ancillary facilities.

The header system at the upstream end of the pipeline would have multiple interconnects to the existing natural gas pipeline grid in the Agua Dulce market area. Firm capacity is expected to be fully subscribed by an affiliate of Rio Bravo Pipeline for the purpose of supplying the terminal. However, transportation of gas for the terminal and any additional purposes would be in accordance with the results of an open season, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter, NextDecade said in its filing.

Last November NextDecade said it had signed nonbinding agreements for 14 mtpa of LNG with customers from across Asia and Europe (see Daily GPI, Nov. 5, 2015). Since then, that number has grown to 26 mtpa, it said Thursday. The company expects to receive authorization from the FERC by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and expects to begin exporting LNG from Rio Grande LNG by the end of 2020.

At full buildout, the Rio Grande facility is expected to be one of the largest LNG export facilities in the world, NextDecade said.

The project was prefiled at FERC in March 2015 at the same time that Sempra Energy prefiled for an unrelated LNG export terminal in Port Arthur, TX (see Daily GPI, March 23, 2015). Last March Texas LNG Brownsville LLC filed at FERC for its 4 mtpa LNG export terminal proposed for a 625-acre site at the Port of Brownsville (see Daily GPI, March 31). Exelon Generation unit Annova LNG LLC made a pre-filing review request last year for its proposed Brownsville, too (see Daily GPI, March 11, 2015).