THE US Department of Energy has granted final authorisation to the Cameron LNG project, enabling it to export gas to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

The Cameron LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, is authorised to export LNG up to the equivalent of 1.7 billion standard cubic feet per day of natural gas for a period of 20 years.

Project proponents Sempra LNG, GDF Suez, Mitsui and Mitsubishi through a related company jointly established with Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), completed the environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The Department of Energy (DOE) conducted an extensive, careful review of the Cameron LNG and Carib Energy applications after this review was completed.

The DOE reviewed a number of public interest considerations and determined that interveners and commenters had not demonstrated that the requested authorisation would be inconsistent with the public interest, as would be required to deny Cameron’s application.

US Senator Mary Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, applauded the DOE’s decision to give the Cameron LNG facility final approval for an export license, which will employ 3,000 people in the construction phase.

“Cameron LNG will create thousands of high-paying jobs in Southwest Louisiana, open new markets for American producers, and position the United States as an energy superpower,” she said.

“Today’s decision means we can put shovels in the ground immediately and begin exporting this game-changing resource around the world.”

The DOE approval comes after the project proponents gave a final investment approval for the development, which has an estimated US$10 billion price tag.

Sempra LNG president Octavio M.C. Simoes said the company appreciated the support of elected officials in moving the project forward.

“With this final authorisation from DOE and the previous permit granted by (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), we will be able to remain on schedule and commence operations during 2018,” he said.

The commission had approved the site, construction and operation of the three-train liquefaction and export facilities.

When complete, the project will be able to export 12 million tonnes of LNG per annum, or about 1.7 billion cubic feet daily.