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NextDecade weighs issues of scope for Galveston Bay LNG project

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NextDecade weighs issues of scope for Galveston Bay LNG project

NextDecade Corp. will determine whether a natural gas pipeline attached to its proposed Galveston Bay LNG LLC export terminal in Texas will be classified as an intrastate or interstate pipeline, a decision that could affect the size of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review for the project.

The classification of the pipeline could determine whether the commission has jurisdiction over this part of the project. FERC regulates interstate gas pipelines, with few exceptions. Intrastate pipelines are usually regulated by state agencies and other permitting authorities. The Texas Railroad Commission has primary regulatory jurisdiction over safety, transportation rates and other operational issues of intrastate pipelines in Texas.

Aug. 7 notes from a conference call between NextDecade and FERC at the end of July provided updates about the Galveston Bay LNG project, many of which dealt with the pipeline. NextDecade said it was deciding how to classify the pipeline, making minor adjustments to the route, picking the best compressor station location and establishing an entity to manage the pipeline portion of the project. For its part, FERC said it will await more information on the project, which is in the pre-filing review stage at the federal commission that precedes a formal application. (FERC docket PF18-7)

In June 2018, Galveston Bay LNG LLC received a 20-year permit from the U.S. Department of Energy to export about 785.7 Bcf per year of gas through the proposed Galveston Bay LNG export project. According to the DOE document, the facility would include three gas liquefaction trains with a production capacity of up to about 5.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG each. The facility would be in Texas City, Texas, and will have gas treatment, compression, liquefaction, storage and loading facilities. (DOE Office of Fossil Energy docket 17-167-LNG)

NextDecade is also developing the Rio Grande LNG export project in Brownsville, Texas. The Rio Grande LNG project, with a LNG production capacity of up to 27 million tonnes per annum, is near the end of the FERC review process and waiting for final approval. (FERC dockets CP16-454, CP16-455)