PARIS, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A U.S. decision on gas exports opened the door for French company GDF Suez to enhance its position in the growing U.S. natural gas market, the company said.
Gerard Mestrallat, chairman for GDF Suez, said he welcomed Tuesday's decision by the federal government to allow consortium Cameron LNG, LLC to export liquefied natural gas produced in the United States from a Cameron Parish, La., terminal to countries that don't have a U.S. free-trade agreement.
"The decision of the Department of Energy to grant non-FTA approval opens a major opportunity for GDF Suez to further develop long-term LNG sales in a fast-growing global market," he said in a statement Wednesday.
GDF Suez in May signed a joint venture agreement with U.S. natural gas company Sempra and Japan's Mitsubishi and Mitsui to develop the Cameron LNG project.
The U.S. Energy Department said Tuesday the decision, which is still subject to environmental review and regulatory approval, authorizes the export of as much as 1.7 billion cubic feet, or about 12 million tons of LNG, per year for a period of 20 years.
Debra Reed, chief executive officer at Sempra, which has headquarters in California, said in a statement the department's decision was a "critical milestone" for the Cameron export facility.
It's slated to go into service in 2018.