1 of 2 | Cheniere Energy said it took preliminary steps toward expanding its Sabine Pass LNG export terminal, the busiest facility of its kind in the United States. Photo courtesy of Cheniere Energy
Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The operator of the busiest U.S. liquefied natural gas export terminal, Cheniere Energy said Thursday it started the preliminary permitting process to expand the Sabine Pass terminal.
The Sabine Pass terminal is typically the busiest export terminal for liquefied natural gas that's sourced primarily from inland shale basins. Of the 26 vessels laden with LNG that left export terminals over the seven-day period ending Feb. 16, nine of them left from Sabine Pass.
Cheniere said it started "the pre-filing review process" for its proposed expansion project at Sabine Pass (SPL Expansion Project), an expansion that would have a peak production capacity of 974 billion cubic feet of gas in the liquid form per year.
Exports for the week ending Feb. 16 were 98 billion cubic feet.
The expansion project includes three trains -- infrastructure that cools gas to its liquid form -- and includes two storage tanks with a peak capacity of 7.7 million cubic feet of natural gas.
Cheniere has already reached out to project management firm Bechtel Energy to conduct a front-end engineering and design study for the expansion.
"As the first and largest LNG export facility in the Lower 48, Sabine Pass has pioneered an industry critical to supplying reliable, flexible, and cleaner burning natural gas to markets and customers around the world, and we look forward to significantly growing those capabilities through the SPL Expansion Project," said Jack Fusco, the top brass at Cheniere.
During the Trump administration, then U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in 2018 that the nation's energy policy would be a deterrent against Russia.
"An energy policy where we can deliver energy to Eastern Europe, where we are a partner with people around the globe, where they know that we will supply them energy and there are no strings attached is one of the most powerful messages that we can send to Russia," Perry said.
It was in large part LNG that helped Europe in 2022 deal with the loss of Russian products due to Western-backed sanctions. Recent analysis from consultant group Wood Mackenzie, meanwhile, finds that the United States is on pace to be the world leader in LNG exports this year.
Cheniere sent out 112 cargoes of LNG during the three-month period ending in December, a 15% increase over year-ago levels. Net income of $2.5 billion for the fourth quarter was 396% above the same period in 2021.