THE CAMERON liquefaction project has been given final investment approval by its proponents, with the estimated price tag for development tipping in at US$10 billion.

Sempra LNG, GDF Suez, Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corporation each made a FID for the development, construction and operation of the natural gas liquefaction and export project planned at the site of Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana.

The total project cost includes contribution of the existing Cameron LNG facilities, construction of the new facilities and financing cost.

Financing commitments for the project total $7.4 billion and will be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and a group of 29 commercial banks.

Sempra LNG president Octavio M.C. Simoes said the FID put the partners a step closer to delivering domestic natural gas to America’s trading partners in Europe and Japan.

“This represents one of the largest project financings in the US,” said Sempra LNG president Octavio M.C. Simoes.

The three-train natural gas liquefaction facilities will have an export capability of 12 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas.

Construction will start this year, with all three trains expected to commence operations during 2018, with the first full year of operations in 2019.

The positive FID comes after the Cameron LNG project received authorisation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to site, construct and operate the liquefaction facilities earlier in the year.

Subject to the finalisation of permits and other conditions to the equity and debt financing, Sempra Energy will have an indirect 50.2 per cent ownership interest in Cameron LNG and the related liquefaction project, and the remaining portion will be owned by affiliates of GDF SUEZ, Mitsubishi and Mitsui, each with 16.6% stakes.