Cheniere on track to decide on two more Corpus Christi LNG trains in 2025

US LNG exporting giant Cheniere is on track to take a final investment decision in 2025 to build two more midscale trains at its Corpus Christi LNG plant in Texas.

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for the Corpus Christi Liquefaction midscale trains 8 and 9 project.

According to the assessment released by the FERC on June 21, the approval of the project, with appropriate mitigating measures, “would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment”.

“We recommend that the Commission order contain a finding of no significant impact,” the regulator said.

The FERC staff recommended 101 measures to be included as conditions to any authorization the Commission may issue to Corpus Christi Liquefaction.

“We are pleased with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental assessment for Midscale 8&9 and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with regulators to secure all necessary approvals and permits for the project,” a Cheniere spokesman told LNG Prime on Monday.

In March last year, Cheniere filed an application with the US FERC seeking authorization by September 2024 to construct two midscale trains at its Corpus Christi LNG terminal.

The company also filed an application with the US DOE for the expansion project in April 2023.

Cheniere’s CEO Jack Fusco said in February that Cheniere is going “full steam ahead” with plans to expand its Corpus Christi and Sabine Pass LNG terminals despite a move by the Biden administration to pause pending decisions for LNG export terminals.

The Biden administration announced in January that the DOE will temporarily pause review and approval of all new and pending applications for export authorization to non-free trade agreement (non-FTA) countries while DOE updates its assessment process.

Image: Cheniere

Up to 5 mtpa

Cheniere’s Corpus Christi liquefaction plant now has three operational trains with each having a capacity of about 5 mtpa.

In June 2022, Cheniere took a final investment decision to build the Corpus Christi Stage 3 expansion project worth about $8 billion.

This project includes building seven midscale trains, each with an expected liquefaction capacity of about 1.49 mtpa, and the project was 60.4 percent complete as of May this year, according to the May construction report filed with the US FERC.

Cheniere expects to start producing LNG from the first midscale train this year.

The CCL midscale trains 8 and 9 project would include two trains, nearly identical in design to trains 1-7 and each capable of producing up to 1.64 mtpa of LNG, on-site refrigerant storage, a 220,000-cbm LNG storage tank, a BOG compressor, and an increase in the authorized LNG loading rate.

According to a Cheniere presentation published on June 17, the project could have a capacity of about 5 mtpa when debottlenecking potential is included.

Contracted volumes

Asked about contracted volumes, Cheniere’s spokesman said that the company has “customer commitments for the majority of the project’s nameplate volume”.

The mentioned presentation shows that Cheniere has long-term commitments for up to 2.8 mtpa of LNG.

These include contracts with Equinor, PetroChina, and Chevron.

Cheniere previously said that it plans to decide on the project in 2025.

“We are still targeting FID in 2025, subject to receipt of all regulatory approvals and permits, as well as sufficient commercial and financing arrangements,” the spokesman said.

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