Slideshow: Five LNG export terminals now operating in United States

  • Sep 16, 2019
  • The Woodlands Villager

There are now five liquefied natural gas export terminals in operation in the lower 48 states.

Houston liquefied natural gas company Freeport LNG joined the club of U.S. liquefied natural gas exporters earlier this month.

Four companies own and operate five LNG export terminals that use tankers to ship the supercooled fuel from the lower 48 states to destinations in 33 nations around the world. Two more export terminals remain under construction while a third just reached a final investment decision.

The growth of the LNG industry is attributed to record production of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin and other shale plays that have transformed the United States from a natural gas importer into an exporter that is poised to rival top LNG producers Australia and Qatar.

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Located in Brazoria County about 70 miles south of Houston, Freeport LNG sent out its first shipment on Sept. 3.

The export project has been a long time in coming. Already the location of an import terminal, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Freeport LNG permission to build an export terminal on the site in 2014.

Known as Train 1, Freeport LNG's first production until went into service this month. Amid some construction delays, the startup date for Train 2 has been postponed until January 2020 while the startup for Train 3 has been postponed until May 2020.

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Houston liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy became the first U.S. LNG exporter in February 2016 with a shipment from its Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana. The company has since built four more trains at the facility and made a final investment decision to add a sixth. The facility has sent out 168 shipments through June, figures from the U.S. Department of Energy show.

Virginia-based utility company Dominion Energy became the second U.S. LNG exporter with the first cargo shipment from its Cove Point LNG export terminal in March 2018. The facility only has one train but has sent out 39 shipments through June.

Cheniere Energy's Corpus Christi LNG in Texas became the third liquefied natural export terminal opened in the United States with its first cargo in December 2018. With two trains in operation, the South Texas facility has sent out 31 shipments through June. A third train remains under construction.

San Diego utility company Sempra Energy opened the fourth LNG export terminal. Train 1 at the company's Cameron LNG export terminal in Louisiana sent out its first shipment in May and a second shipment in June. Train 2 is expected to begin operating during the first quarter of 2020 while Train 3 is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2020.

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Two more liquefied natural gas export terminals are under construction while a third has reached a final investment decision.

Houston pipeline operator Kinder Morgan is in the middle of the startup process for five out of 10 small-scale trains at the company's Elba Island LNG export terminal in Savannah, Georgia. The other five trains remain under construction.

Texas oil giant Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum have started construction for their joint venture Golden Pass LNG near Port Arthur. The export terminal is expected to have three trains in operation in 2024.

With a federal permit in hand, Virginia-based Venture Global LNG reached a final investment decision in August to build the company's Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana. The facility is expected to have two trains in operation in 2022.

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