NextDecade LLC is seeking U.S. government approval for a natural gas export facility and associated pipeline in Texas.
The Woodlands, Texas-based NextDecade is a development and management company of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects. The company announced May 5 that it filed an application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for authorization to site, construct and operate an LNG export facility near Brownsville, Texas, and a 137-mile pipeline system that will provide the facility with its feed gas.
The proposed Rio Grande LNG facility will have the capacity to export 27 million metric tons per year (Mtpa) — approximately 3.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). The project calls for a 1,000-acre industrial site on the Port of Brownsville. The Rio Bravo Pipeline is twin 42-in. system with a total throughput capacity of 4.5 Bcf/d. The pipeline will connect the Rio Grande LNG terminal with the Agua Dulce market area near Kingsville, Texas.
NextDecade’s permit application represents the most significant milestone to date in the development of Rio Grande LNG. The action positions the project to sign offtake agreements and declare a Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2017.
“After a productive pre-filing with the FERC and extensive consultation and cooperation with the reviewing agencies and local communities, we are proud to have achieved this major accomplishment,” said NextDecade CEO Kathleen Eisbrenner. “Despite recent low oil and gas prices, we have found robust appetite for U.S. LNG on a long-term basis all around the world. This interest reaffirms the price competitiveness of U.S. LNG for customers looking to diversify their gas supply on a global level.”
In November 2015, the company announced that it had signed non-binding agreements for 14 Mtpa of LNG with customers from across Asia and Europe. Since then, that number has grown to 26 Mtpa, the company announced. The increased support demonstrates a continued desire for U.S.-produced LNG from customers around the world and, specifically, a desire for LNG from the proposed NextDecade facility.
NextDecade expects to receive authorization from the FERC by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and expects to begin exporting from Rio Grande LNG by the end of 2020.
Pending FERC approval and FID, the project is expected to create between 4,000 and 6,000 construction jobs and more than 200 well-paid permanent jobs, reflecting a potential investment of up to $20 billion. At full build-out, the Rio Grande LNG facility will be one of the largest LNG export facilities in the world, providing customers access to clean-burning natural gas.