FERC okays applications for Lake Charles LNG export project

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 17 approved applications related to the Lake Charles liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in Louisiana.

In March 2014, Lake Charles LNG Export Co. LLC and Lake Charles LNG Co. LLC jointly filed an application seeking authorization to: site, construct, and operate new facilities for the liquefaction and export of natural gas, to be located adjacent to Lake Charles LNG’s existing LNG import terminal located in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; and to modify and construct certain facilities at the terminal.

Also in March 2014, Lake Charles LNG filed an application to convert its existing facilities at the terminal to section 3 jurisdiction. Specifically, pursuant to sections 7(b) and 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), Lake Charles LNG requested authorization to: abandon certain terminal facilities previously certificated under NGA section 7; abandon services provided under Lake Charles LNG’s FERC Gas Tariff and its certificates of public convenience and necessity; cancel Lake Charles LNG’s FERC Gas Tariff, including all rate schedules therein; and operate such abandoned facilities and services under NGA section 3, so that the entirety of Lake Charles LNG’s terminal facilities and operations are authorized solely under section 3. These requests involve no new construction.

Additionally, in March 2014, Trunkline Gas Co. LLC filed an application for authorization to abandon, construct, operate, and modify interstate natural gas pipeline facilities, located in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Said the Dec. 17 FERC approval: “For the reasons stated below, we will authorize Lake Charles LNG Export’s and Lake Charles LNG’s proposals under NGA section 3 to construct and operate the Liquefaction Project. We will also grant Lake Charles LNG’s request to convert its facilities and operations to NGA section 3 jurisdiction. Lastly, we will authorize Trunkline’s proposal under NGA sections 7(b) and 7(c) to abandon, construct, and operate the Pipeline Modifications Project.”

Lake Charles LNG is a wholly owned, direct subsidiary of Energy Transfer Equity LP. Lake Charles LNG owns and operates the terminal, which includes approximately 9.0 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of LNG storage capacity and re-gasification facilities. Lake Charles LNG Export is a wholly owned, indirect subsidy of Energy Transfer Equity LP and Energy Transfer Partners LP. Lake Charles LNG Export was established to own and operate the Liquefaction Facilities and to hold an LNG export authorization issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE).

Trunkline is a natural gas company as defined in the NGA and is engaged in the transmission of natural gas in interstate commerce. Trunkline’s transmission system extends from its historical supply sources in Texas and Louisiana, through Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois to a principal terminus at the Indiana-Michigan state line near Elkhart, Indiana.

The Liquefaction Project consists of two parts: construction and operation of the Liquefaction Facilities proposed by Lake Charles LNG Export and construction and operation of the Modified Facilities proposed by Lake Charles LNG. The new Liquefaction Facilities will be located on approximately 286 acres of land immediately north of and adjacent to the terminal. Lake Charles LNG Export will own the Liquefaction Facilities and hold the DOE/FE authorization to export LNG from the terminal.

DOE also granting approvals for this project

In 2013, DOE/FE authorized Lake Charles LNG Export to export 15.0 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) of LNG from the terminal to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) nations. Lake Charles LNG Export’s non-FTA application remains pending at DOE/FE.

Lake Charles LNG Export’s Liquefaction Facilities will include three liquefaction trains, with a design production capacity of 16.45 MTPA of LNG, or each sufficient to produce 5.48 MTPA, to be constructed and placed into service in phases. Lake Charles LNG Export estimates that the first train will be placed into service in the second quarter of 2019, with the second and third trains placed into service in the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, respectively.

The Liquefaction Facilities also include:

  • LNG and vapor tie-in lines to the terminal;
  • three natural gas liquids removal units (one for each train);
  • three gas treatment units, each consisting of a fractionation unit, acid gas removal unit, gas dehydration unit, and mercury removal unit;
  • a refrigerant storage and resupply system for the three trains, consisting of storage bullet tanks holding refrigerants and condensate product storage and an associated truck loading/unloading area;
  • a boil-off gas and handling system;
  • a nitrogen generation and distribution system;
  • LNG rundown lines from the liquefaction area to the LNG storage tanks; construction docks; and
  • associated infrastructure.

Additionally, the Liquefaction Project includes construction and operation of Lake Charles LNG’s Modified Facilities at the terminal. Specifically, Lake Charles LNG proposes to:

  • replace in-tank LNG pumps with larger pumps and associated piping;
  • replace LNG loading arms at the west dock;
  • modify its boil-off compression and handling system;
  • expand and integrate the electrical and security systems;
  • integrate the control and emergency shutdown systems;
  • expand and integrate the telecommunications system;
  • install a larger vapor return pipeline from the west dock to the LNG storage tanks;
  • upgrade the marine relief system;
  • replace the mooring dolphins and breasting dolphins at the west dock; and
  • add new mooring and breasting dolphins and upgrade equipment on the existing breasting dolphins at the east dock.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.