PERTH-based LNG Limited has taken a major step on the way to developing its Port of Lake Charles LNG project in Louisiana, with its US-based subsidiary Magnolia LNG making progress on the way to receiving project approval from the US energy regulator.

Magnolia has received an engineering data information request from the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in what the company described as a “major milestone” on the way to FERC granting a notice of schedule and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).

“The engineering data request represents a major milestone in the FERC filing process, and is usually one of the final information requests sought by FERC before the issue of a notice of schedule and DEIS,” the company said in a statement.

“The timing of the request will enable the agreed outcomes to be included in the final detailed engineering design by the proposed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, the SKE&C Group that is to be completed by 31 March.”

LNG Limited managing director and chief executive Maurice Brand said he was pleased with the solid progress on moving the project forward.

“The FERC process is running in parallel with the company moving towards a bankable EPC contract and long term tolling agreements, and augers well for Magnolia LNG to achieve its primary goal to achieve financial close in mid‐2015 and first LNG in 2018”, Mr Brand said.

The approval comes ahead of the scheduled early-2015 start, with the targeted final investment decision planned for mid-2015.

The Port of Lake Charles project is an eight million tonne per annum (mtpa) mid-scale LNG facility built on 108 acres of land in the Lake Charles Industrial Canal South Shore PLC Tract 475.