SAN DIEGO, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Sempra Energy said it filed the necessary paperwork to hasten the development of a port in Texas that could export liquefied natural gas, seen as a strategic asset.
Sempra, which has its headquarters in San Diego, filed applications with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for exports and construction of the proposed Port Arthur LNG plant in southeast Texas.
"Our experience in developing, building and operating energy infrastructure will help us deliver a cost-competitive project to the global LNG market," Octavio Simoes, the president of Sempra's LNG and pipeline unit, said in a statement.
The project calls for everything from storage tanks to refrigerants and marine loading facilities at the proposed Texas plant.
A potential site for LNG development in Texas could have export capacity. Sempra last year started the filing process with FERC to export LNG sourced from U.S. reserve basins to countries that have, or will have, a free-trade deal with the United States.
A special permit is needed to export LNG sources from domestic reserves to countries that don't have a U.S. free-trade agreement.
A vessel left its port at Sabine Pass, La., in February with the first cargo of LNG ever sourced from U.S. shale areas to the foreign market. Cheniere Energy Partners, which operates the Sabine Pass liquefaction plant, said the shipment marked a new era for the U.S. LNG sector.
For U.S. allies in Europe, the abundance of natural gas from domestic shale basins could be used as a tool to break the Russian grip on the European economy. European leaders said last year LNG sourced from U.S. shale basins may present a source of diversity with the right infrastructure in place.
Low energy prices may curb some options for exports. In July, a joint venture led by Royal Dutch Shell said capital constraints were in part behind a decision to delay a final investment decision for a gas export facility in Canada.