NextDecade files FERC application for Rio Grande LNG project in Texas

NextDecade LLC announced May 5 that it has applied with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization to site, construct and operate Rio Grande LNG, a proposed 27 Mtpa LNG export facility near Brownsville, Texas, and the Rio Bravo Pipeline, a 137-mile pipeline system that will provide the facility with its gas.

This action represents the most significant milestone to date in the development of Rio Grande LNG, positioning the project in an excellent position to sign offtake agreements and declare Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2017, the company said.

“After a productive pre-filing with the FERC and extensive consultation and cooperation with the reviewing agencies and local communities, we are proud to have achieved this major accomplishment,” said Kathleen Eisbrenner, NextDecade Chief Executive Officer. “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. This interest reaffirms the price competitiveness of U.S. LNG for customers looking to diversify their gas supply on a global level.”

In November 2015, NextDecade announced that it had signed non-binding agreements for 14 Mtpa of LNG with customers from across Asia and Europe. Since then, that number has grown to 26 Mtpa.

NextDecade 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.

Pending FERC approval and FID, the project is expected to create between 4,000 and 6,000 construction jobs, and more than 200 well-paid permanent jobs, reflecting a potential investment of up to $20 billion. At full build-out, the Rio Grande LNG facility will be one of the largest LNG export facilities in the world.

NextDecade’s Senior Vice President of Development & Regulatory Affairs, Shaun Davison, added: “I want to thank the entire NextDecade team as well as our valued partners at CB&I, Ecology & Environment, Norton Rose Fulbright, HGA and CH-IV, to name just a few, for their monumental efforts to further advance the Rio Grande LNG project. … Since well before our initial application was filed with the FERC in April 2015, we have been working tirelessly to develop an industry-leading project with the utmost care and attention to safety, respecting the people, preserving the environment and caring for the Rio Grande Valley’s way of life.”

Rio Grande LNG is a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility at the Port of Brownsville. The project, proposed for a 1,000-acre industrial site on the Port of Brownsville, includes the Rio Bravo Pipeline.

The project will entail the construction, operation and maintenance of six liquefaction trains, each with a nominal capacity of about 4.5 million metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) (i.e., a long-term average of approximately 0.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d)). It will be designed to produce approximately 27 MTPA of LNG. It will use Air Products and Chemicals Inc.’s propane pre-cooled mixed refrigerant liquefaction process to liquefy the natural gas. 

NextDecade, based in The Woodlands, Texas, is a development and management company of land-based and floating LNG projects, creating innovative opportunities in the integrated natural gas industry and providing customers access to the full LNG value chain. By bringing together people, companies and opportunities, NextDecade assembles best in class assets to deliver successful projects. Founded in 2010, NextDecade represents a team of industry leaders with extensive experience in the full LNG value chain, including successfully closing major LNG off-take deals, LNG/FLNG technology, and project management.

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.