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Sempra eyes pipeline expansion to feed further phase at Port Arthur LNG

Highlights

166-mile expansion would move 2.5 Bcf/d

Formal application seen February 2020

Washington — A Sempra Energy unit asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take an early look at a significant expansion of a pipeline that would support plans to boost the export capacity of the company's proposed Port Arthur LNG terminal in Texas.

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Port Arthur Pipeline asked FERC on June 21 to begin the prefiling review for the proposed Louisiana Connector Extension Project, telling the agency that plans now call for a 166-mile, 48-inch-diameter pipeline with a transportation capacity of 2.5 Bcf/d. The Sempra subsidiary had initially proposed a 131-mile, 42-inch-diameter pipeline with a capacity of 2 Bcf/d.

FERC authorized the Port Arthur LNG facility in April, along with the original Louisiana Connector and another related project, the 34.2-mile, 2 Bcf/d Texas Connector Pipeline.

The recent request came just days after Sempra sought to begin prefiling for an expansion that would double the nameplate production capacity of the LNG terminal to 27 million mt/year in aggregate (see story this issue). The requests for prefiling reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act are meant to start a process that can identify potential sticking points early.

For the Louisiana Connector, Sempra said it expects to file a formal application in February 2020 and that it will seek FERC's authorization no later than April 2021. The Louisiana Connector would interconnect with gas pipelines in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu and Evangeline parishes in Louisiana. It would also traverse Cameron parish in Louisiana and Jefferson County, Texas (PF19-5, PF19-6).

At a time when developing US LNG projects is increasingly competitive, the Port Arthur LNG project received a significant boost in May when Saudi Arabian Oil signaled plans to support the project.

Another export venture led by Sempra, Cameron LNG, shipped the first commissioning cargo of LNG from the first liquefaction train of the facility in late May. Commissioning work continues at the facility, which in its first phase will include three liquefaction trains capable of exporting about 12 million mt/year.

-- Corey Paul, S&P Global Market Intelligence, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Joe Fisher, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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