Sempra seeks FERC approval for revised Cameron LNG expansion plans

LNG operator and energy firm Sempra asked US energy regulators to approve its revised expansion plans for the Cameron LNG export plant in Louisiana.

Sempra indirectly holds 50.2 percent of Cameron LNG, the operator of the three-train 12 mtpa liquefaction facility. Other partners include affiliates of TotalEnergies, Mitsui & Co, and Japan LNG Investment, a company held by Mitsubishi Corp and NYK.

Besides these three trains, Sempra and its partners planned to build two additional LNG units, adding about 10 mtpa.

However, Sempra said last year that the partners changed their original plans and aim to build only the fourth train with a capacity of about 6 mtpa.

In a filing this week, Cameron LNG asked the US FERC to approve these amended plans.

Cameron LNG submitted the application for a limited amendment to the existing authorization issued by FERC on May 5, 2016, which included, among others, two trains with a total capacity of 9.97 million tonnes.

“Cameron LNG is proposing in this amendment application to implement several design modifications and enhancements to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project, allow for Cameron LNG to gain access to carbon capture and storage facilities in the future, and to enhance the overall efficiency and productive capacity of the expansion project,” it said.

Electric turbines

The proposed amendment will include one liquefaction train with a maximum LNG production capacity of 6.75 mtpa with its own feed gas pretreatment facility.

Also, the design enhancements of the fourth train would include the use of an electric drive (E-Drive) motor to replace the Frame 7 gas turbine drives, and tie-ins to allow optionality of carbon sequestration of the acid gas from the unit, Cameron LNG said.

The firm is proposing to replace its primary gas-driven turbines with an E-Drive technology that utilizes power sourced from the local utility, Entergy.

Cameron LNG said this would make it one of only two LNG facilities in North America, besides Freeport LNG, to utilize this technology.

“The use of this technology will reduce by approximately 44 percent the overall onsite
emissions from Train 4 from 1,840,740 tons per year of CO2 equivalent gas to 1,030,152 tpy of CO2e,” it said.

In addition, the amended expansion project would preserve the “opportunity for the terminal to take advantage of the possible CCS infrastructure in the Gulf Coast, if and when such infrastructure is developed and assuming it is accessible to Cameron LNG both logistically and economically,” it said.

Cameron LNG said the design enhancements relate solely to equipment associated with Train 4 and do not alter or impact the existing marine facilities at the plant.

The firm would also not build the fifth LNG tank associated with the fifth train.

Cameron LNG estimates a total economic impact resulting from construction of the expansion project of $2.2 billion.

According to Cameron LNG, if FERC approves the application by January 2023, the terminal operator could start construction in April of the same year and launch the expansion in the third quarter of 2027.

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