Feb. 6 (UPI) -- ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum will invest $10 billion to build a plant in Sabine Pass, Texas, that will liquefy and freeze natural gas for export as LNG starting in 2024.
"Golden Pass will provide an increased, reliable, long-term supply of liquefied natural gas to global gas markets, stimulate local growth and create thousands of jobs," Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil, said in a company announcement.
Working interests in the Golden Pass LNG export project are 70 percent Qatar Petroleum and 30 percent ExxonMobil.
"The Golden Pass LNG export project is not our first investment in the United States, and is certainly not going to be our last. It represents a significant part of the plans that Qatar Petroleum had announced to invest 20 billion dollars in the U.S. energy sector," said Qatar minister for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi.
ExxonMobil said construction will start in the first quarter of 2019, and is expected to create about 9,000 jobs over the five-year construction period. Once finished, it will have capacity to produce 16 million tons of LNG per year, and will result in 200 permanent jobs during operations.
Golden Pass is part of ExxonMobil's plans to invest more than $50 billion over the next five years to build and expand manufacturing facilities in the U.S., ExxonMobil said.
This project builds upon the successful international relationship between ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum, with Qatar Petroleum joining ExxonMobil in exploration and development activities in Argentina, Brazil and Mozambique.
The project's Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract was awarded to a consortium comprising Chiyoda, McDermott and Zachry.
The joint project "is proof that two of the world's top energy producers can work together as allies to increase energy diversity, advance energy security, and support rather than subvert an open energy marketplace," U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.
An LNG plant processes methane cryogenically to reduce its volume about 600 times so that large quantities can be exported in special ships. Once it arrives at its destination another plant decompresses the gas, where it is used as fuel.
Some vehicles in recent years, for the most part ships, are running on LNG fuel, which requires the vehicle to have equipment to keep the fuel at cryogenic temperatures, but can offer the advantage of few recharges and lower energy costs.