The U.S. Energy Department gave its consent last week for the Freeport liquefied natural gas terminal on Quintana Island, Texas. The facility could export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of LNG per day for 20 years once it gets cleared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Freeport LNG becomes the second facility to get preliminary consent to export LNG to countries that don't have a free trade agreement with the United States. The government in 2011 approved Cheniere Energy's terminal in Louisiana in May 2011.
Upstream director for the American Petroleum Institute Erik Milito said the government has several LNG projects that it could approve for natural gas exports.
"(The Energy Department) has had the remaining applications on its desk for months and should ensure that these applications are approved without any further delay so that the U.S can achieve its full energy and economic potential," he said in a statement.
There are at least 60 international projects under consideration, API said. The organization didn't say how many FTA and non-FTA projects are up for regulatory review in the United States.
New technologies used to tap into shale formations are creating a natural gas boom in the United States. Environmental groups worry that LNG exports would lead to more hydraulic fracturing, a drilling practice that's seen as a threat to groundwater.
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