The US Department of Energy (DoE) has approved the export of LNG from the country’s first offshore floating liquefaction project to countries with which the US does not have a free trade agreement (FTA).
The Delfin LNG terminal has the green light to export 1.8 bcf (51 mcm) per day of natural gas from the terminal, the DoE said in a statement.
The proposed terminal, which is jointly owned by India and Singapore-based Fairwood Group and US-based Peninsula Group, is located offshore Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.
The project consists of onshore gas compression facilities, a 42-inch (1,067-mm) pipeline to transport gas offshore, and a deepwater port that will have four moorings and four floating liquefaction vessels.
“I am pleased that with this authorisation the administration can continue to strengthen the United States as a dominant energy force with further exports of our abundant amounts of natural gas,” said US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
“Investing in American natural gas not only helps our economy and our jobs, but also helps our allies maintain their energy security. This represents a true win-win for everyone involved,” he added.
In 2014, Delfin received approval from the DoE to export LNG under long-term contracts to countries with which the US has FTAs.
For those countries that do not have an FTA with the US, the DoE has said it will grant export authorisations unless the proposed exports are considered not to be “consistent with the public interest”.
Aside from Delfin, it has now authorised a total of 21 bcf (595 mcm) per day of gas exports to non-FTA countries from planned facilities located in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Maryland.
US gas production is expected to continue rising, and that increase means the country is “transitioning to become a net exporter of natural gas”, the DoE said.
North America’s first LNG export terminal, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass, started operating last year, opening up gas sales from the Lower 48 US states to the rest of the world.