May 14 (Reuters) – U.S. energy company Sempra Energy said on Tuesday the first liquefaction train at its $10 billion Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana started producing LNG.
Cameron is the fourth big LNG export facility to enter service in the Lower 48 U.S. states, keeping the United States on track to become the third biggest LNG exporter in the world in 2019, behind Qatar and Australia.
Demand for natural gas, the cleanest of the fossil fuels, is growing fast around the world as more countries use it to meet increasing energy consumption and wean their power and industrial sectors off dirty coal to cut pollution.
Sempra said Cameron expects to load cargoes in coming weeks. LNG tanker Marvel Crane, chartered by a unit of Mitsui & Co Ltd, is heading across the Atlantic Ocean to pick up the commissioning cargo at Cameron, according to shipping data firm Kpler. The vessel is expected to arrive around May 25, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
The first three trains at Cameron will produce about 12 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG, or roughly 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of natural gas. One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to fuel about five million U.S. homes for a day.
Sempra has said it expects Cameron 2 and 3 to enter service in the first and second quarters of 2020, respectively. Cameron is jointly owned by affiliates of Sempra, Total SA, Mitsui, and Japan LNG Investment LLC, a company jointly owned by Mitsubishi Corp and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK). Sempra indirectly owns 50.2% of Cameron. McDermott International Inc and Chiyoda Corp are the lead contractors at Cameron.
Sempra has a long-term goal of exporting 45 MTPA of North American LNG and is developing a second two-train phase at Cameron, the Port Arthur LNG export terminal in Texas and plans to add export facilities in two phases at its existing Costa Azul LNG import terminal in Baja California in Mexico.
The three big LNG export facilities currently operating in the United States are at Cheniere Energy Inc’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana and Corpus Christi in Texas and Dominion Energy Inc’s Cove Point in Maryland.
Those plants quickly turned the United States into the world’s fourth biggest LNG exporter by the end of 2018, behind Qatar, Australia and Malaysia, after the country sold no LNG at the start of 2016.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York and Sabina Zawadzki in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)
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