LNG’s role in the rise of the United States in the global energy picture has not been lost on US Energy Secretary Rick Perry
LNG’s role in the rise of the United States in the global energy picture has not been lost on US Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Citing the “enormous progress” that the Trump administration has made in the energy sector at a press briefing on 28 February, Secretary Perry said he was pleased that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had taken action on the Calcasieu LNG export facility in Louisiana under a new streamlined application process.
“We’re exporting LNG to 34 countries on five continents. That number is only going to continue to grow and increase engagement with our partners overseas” said the secretary. “US LNG export capacity will increase 150% over the next 18 months.”
Secretary Perry said by next year the US would be a net exporter of energy – something that has not happened in 60 years – and it was the number one oil and gas producer in the world. He also cited gains in coal exports, which were up 20% in 2018 over 2017, and renewables. “The US is now the second-largest generator of solar and wind power,” said Secretary Perry. “Wind power continues to grow. This year we expect it to exceed hydropower for the first time in history.”
The energy secretary said it was important for the regulatory process for approval of LNG export facilities in the US to be “streamlined and expedited” in order to “bring more American LNG to the market and increase our competitiveness around the world.”
The secretary added that “building out America’s energy infrastructure is a critical piece to further the progress we have made.”
On 22 February, FERC approved Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass LNG export project by applying a new approach for considering direct greenhouse gas emissions from LNG facilities.
“Since I joined the Commission, it’s been a priority of mine to expedite and improve our LNG terminal application review process,” said FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee. “This is significant, as I anticipate we’ll be able to use the framework developed in this order to evaluate the other LNG certificates that the commission is considering.”
Mr Chatterjee added that FERC’s multi-pronged approach to improve its process over the past year put the agency in a position to move forward efficiently with the other 12 pending LNG projects.
FERC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, to “cut through unnecessary red tape and reduce inter-agency friction,” said Mr Chatterjee and “increase the number of engineers working on our reviews by casting a wide net to capture talent everywhere we can find it.”
Venture Global moves ahead with Calcasieu Pass LNG
With its FERC authorisations in hand, Venture Global LNG said it would commence construction immediately on the project. It has signed binding 20-year sale and purchase agreements with Shell, BP, Edison SpA, Galp, Repsol and PGNiG for its LNG, with expected production starting in 2022.
The 10-mta nameplate Calcasieu Pass facility will employ a comprehensive process solution from GE Oil & Gas, part of Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE) that utilises mid-scale, modular, factory-fabricated liquefaction trains. Venture Global has executed an integrated turnkey EPC contract with Kiewit to design, engineer, construct, commission, test and guarantee the Calcasieu Pass facility.
Venture Global is also developing the 20-mta nameplate Plaquemines LNG export facility and associated Gator Express Pipeline in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The Plaquemines LNG facility received its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on 13 November 2018 and expects to receive its final EIS on 3 May 2019.
Ironically, the partial US federal government shutdown from 22 December 2018 to 25 January 2019 slowed the decision process for at least three LNG export facilities. Public comment periods were extended on at the draft EISs for Gulf LNG Energy in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Annova LNG in Brownsville, Texas and Eagle LNG Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.