Golden Pass Products will start construction on a $10 billion expansion to the existing Golden Pass liquefied natural gas facility in Sabine Pass as soon as this spring.
The company on Tuesday said the project will create about 9,000 construction jobs over the five-year construction period and more than 200 permanent jobs once the facility opens. If the project gets under way by the first quarter, as projected, Golden Pass thinks the terminal will be open by 2024.
"Our team has worked diligently on the design, development and permitting for this world-class LNG export facility, and we are eager to begin construction to bring this exciting project to life," president Sean Ryan said in a statement.
A company spokesman said no Golden Pass officials were available for further comment.
Engineering, procurement and construction contracts were given to a collaboration between Chiyoda International Corp., McDermott International Inc. and Zachry Group.
Golden Pass also announced it had created a 20-year transportation agreement with Enable Midstream Partners and secured pipeline capacity with Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America.
The company expects the project will have a capacity of about 16 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year, according to a statement from the company.
The Golden Pass LNG Terminal is a joint venture originally created by Qatar Petroleum, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips. The project is now split between a 70 percent interest for Qatar Petroleum and a 30 percent interest for Exxon Mobil, according to a news release from Exxon Mobil.
The facility expansion is part of Qatar Petroleum's overall plans to invest about $20 billion in the United States to increase its overseas oil and gas footprint. Qatar announced in December that it would be leaving the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after the first of the year.
While the country was one of the smallest oil producers in OPEC, it is one of the largest producers of liquefied natural gas in the world.
Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum have also partnered on exploration and development activities in Argentina, Brazil and Mozambique.
The project has been in earnest development since at least 2013, and was updated again in 2015 when the company put out an open call to companies throughout Southeast Texas to register contracts and partnerships related to the expansion. It obtained its final environmental impact statement in 2016, one of the final steps before securing approval from the federal government.
The Golden Pass terminal was originally built in 2009 to import liquefied natural gas from abroad, but it changed direction after a domestic boom in gas production fueled by advances in fracking.
The terminal became one of a number of construction and expansion projects planned by companies to increase exports of petroleum products instead of accepting imports. In January 2017 alone, there were seven facilities under construction and another four that had been approved.
"Golden Pass will provide an increased, reliable, long-term supply of liquefied natural gas to global gas markets, stimulate local growth and create thousands of jobs," said Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.
Jim Rich, executive director of the Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation, said the Golden Pass announcement, along with similar projects nearby, will mean a new industry for the area to adapt to and grow around.
"Its huge for the area because we become the center of LNG distribution and storage," Rich said. "That brings ship traffic and a need to train our workforce to do different things. This is something new, the beginning of a new kind of industry."
Sempra Energy, which announced it was a step closer to an LNG facility in Port Arthur, is also constructing a facility in Hackberry, La., just across the border.
Exxon Mobil is including the Golden Pass project in its $50 billion Growing the Gulf initiative, which aims to expand manufacturing and add 45,000 U.S. jobs over the next five years.