As Dominion Resources awaits permission to proceed with a $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas export project, the U.S. Department of Energy will allow another company to send gas to Asia.
After the energy department evaluated 200,000 comments, Lake Charles Exports will be allowed to export the LNG from its terminal in Lake Charles, La. The department found the project will not be detrimental to the public interest.
The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country, according to the energy department.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, domestic natural gas production is projected to reach a record rate of 69.96 billion cubic feet per day this year. Allowing exportation to foreign countries should create more demand with higher prices, industry experts note.
Dominion hopes to export LNG. The company is seeking permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to complete the Cove Point project in Maryland, at which the company would collect natural gas from the eastern United States. Dominion plans to liquefy, store and load the gas into ships brought to the facility on the Chesapeake Bay.
Subject to regulatory approval, the Cove Point facilities could be in service by 2017.
"Japan and India are important allies and trading partners of the United States that are in need of secure sources of natural gas ... ," said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion chairman, president and chief executive officer.
While the gas liquefied at Cove Point may be extracted from a variety of areas, Farrell said it will be a premier facility in terms of "direct access to the Marcellus and Utica shale plays," which he described as two of the most prolific natural gas basins in North America.