US LNG Spurs Breakbulk Prospects
A new wave of liquefied natural gas export terminal projects in the U.S. could spur breakbulk growth in the Gulf Coast, with 15 project awaiting approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Out of 15 projects pending approval or in prefiling, only three lie outside the U.S. Gulf Coast, with one in Oregon on the West Coast, one on the Atlantic seaboard in Florida and one planned in Hawaii.
With existing Gulf Coast hubs the focus of upgrade and improvement work increased construction activity is forecast for the region as U.S. shale gas producers seek to export their output to growing markets in Asia and Europe
Senate group lobby FERC
Lending support to this new wave of activity, a group of Republican senators have pressed FERC to speed up the permitting process for new construction, lobbying FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre.
“We are pleased that you and the other commissioners share our dedication to making sure that the second wave of U.S. LNG export project applications moves forward in a timely manner … We look forward to continuing to work closely with the commission to meet that objective,” the senate group stated.
Senators have also pushed to ensure that FERC attains suitable staffing levels to cope with the raft of new project approvals and that staff are available to engage in successful discussions with tbe Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA.
PHMSA, FERC sign MoU
Given the complexity of many of the proposed LNG export terminals, ever closer coordination between FERC and PHMSA is expected and both agencies recently signed a memorandum of understanding to develop “new collaborative procedures” for proposed LNG facilities.
The MOU clarifies each agency’s responsibilities related to the application review process for potential LNG projects, is expected to speed up analysis of current and future project proposals, allowing construction to begin sooner.
“The department is committed to eliminating unnecessary delays to the advancement of critical national energy infrastructure projects, while never compromising safety,” said Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Transportation Secretary.
Photo: Sabine Pass LNG export facility. Credit: Cheniere