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FERC terminates early review of struggling Mississippi River LNG project

FERC is ending its early review of the Mississippi River LNG project after the commission said developers failed to respond to data requests and engage other regulatory agencies and potential stakeholders.

FERC's decision followed a Sept. 8 progress report in which project developer Louisiana LNG Energy LLC said it was unable to file a formal application to FERC due to "pending legal action related to the project and its current insolvency status." Louisiana LNG Energy was acquired by Parallax Energy in April 2015, and in June 2015 Cheniere Energy Inc. announced that it was partnering with Parallax to develop the project in Plaquemines Parish, La.

"The commission's staff has participated in the prefiling review of this project for approximately two and a half years, yet Louisiana LNG Energy, LLC has not filed any responses to our latest environmental data request (February 25, 2016) or filed the application needed for staff to continue the environmental review of your project," FERC said in a Dec. 13 letter to Martin Houston, founding partner of Parallax and co-founder of Tellurian Investments, a venture he started with Charif Souki, the former CEO and co-founder of Cheniere. (FERC docket PF14-17)

Developers in June 2014 entered FERC's prefiling review process and had previously planned to submit a formal application in January 2015. The project was originally designed to have a production capacity of about 0.3 Bcf/d, but developers later increased that to 0.8 Bcf/d.

Developers have permission from the U.S. Department of Energy to export up to 0.27 Bcf/d of LNG to free trade agreement countries and an application to export up to 0.28 Bcf/d to non-FTA countries is under review. (DOE Office of Fossil Energy dockets 14-19-LNG, 14-29-LNG)