The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized a fifth LNG train to enter commercial service at Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass export terminal in Louisiana as part of a significant expansion of the company's business.
The March 12 approval of the request, submitted by Cheniere units including Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC, came less than two weeks after FERC allowed the first LNG production train at Cheniere's Corpus Christi terminal in Texas to start commercial service. The Sabine Pass subsidiaries had requested FERC authorization to place Train 5 into service on March 6.
Like the previous four trains to enter commercial service at Sabine Pass, the fifth train has the capacity to produce 4.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG, or about 0.7 Bcf/d of gas.
First commercial delivery is scheduled for August, under the terms of the partnership's sale and purchase agreements with Centrica PLC and Total Gas & Power North America Inc. Cheniere said substantial completion was achieved March 7 on the fifth train and that a Cheniere unit received control of the facility from a unit of engineering and construction firm Bechtel Corp. after it completed construction and commissioning work.
The Sabine Pass terminal shipped the first LNG cargo from the Lower 48 in February 2016. Cheniere said a key priority for the company in 2019 is reaching a final investment decision on a sixth train at Sabine Pass, a milestone the company is targeting by midyear after it sorts out financing for the project.
On March 11, FERC approved a request from a Cheniere subsidiary to introduce feedgas to the second LNG train of its Corpus Christi terminal, a significant step toward bringing that facility online in the second half of 2019.
Cheniere's growth comes at a time when the field of U.S. LNG players is increasingly crowded, with as many as three rival export facilities scheduled to come online in 2019. (FERC docket CP13-552)