Energy Transfer Seeks New LNG Export License After Extension Denied

August 20, 2023

© AA+W / Adobe Stock
© AA+W / Adobe Stock

Pipeline operator Energy Transfer on Friday requested a new and expedited export license for its proposed Lake Charles, Louisiana, LNG plant, according to a filing with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The department in May had refused a three-year extension to Energy Transfer's earlier license saying the request did not meet criteria for a second extension. Several other companies including Commonwealth LNG have been waiting years for their non-FTA license to be approved by the DOE.

Energy Transfer has been pursuing the multi-billion-dollar Lake Charles LNG project since 2012 and in its latest filing said it could not finish the plant before the existing license's 2025 deadline. It wants to receive a new license by Feb. 19, 2024 that would give it seven more years to complete the project.

The Dallas-based pipeline operator said it was unable to meet the construction deadline, in part, due to unplanned delays and a decision to add a carbon capture and sequestration component to the plant.

Energy Transfer did not reply to requests for comment.

The firm, controlled by billionaire Kelcy Warren, is one of the largest U.S. natural gas pipeline operators. It has long-term agreements to supply 7.9 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) of the proposed plant's 16.45 MTPA capacity. Two of its potential customers are in Japan and South Korea and are depending on the project to fuel power plants, Energy Transfer said in its application to the DOE.

"A delay in receiving approval of this application on an expedited basis will likely result in the exercise of termination rights in existing offtake agreements", wrote Energy Transfer.

Rival Commonwealth LNG told Reuters it would not object to Energy Transfer's application being expedited. Commonwealth LNG is focused on its own project, said Lyle Hanna, a vice president.

"We are advancing our project and whatever happens between the DOE and Energy Transfer has nothing to do with us", Hanna said.

(Reporting by Curtis Williams in Houston; editing by Grant McCool)

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