USA: Emissions permit for LNG export terminal canceled

Isbel Lázaro.

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permiso de emisiones

Inspenet, November 20, 2023.

A United States court has withdrawn the emissions permit for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal known as the Port Arthur LNG Terminal, operated by Sempra and located in Texas.

However, Sempra stated that construction of the facility will continue for the time being. The Port Arthur plant has the capacity to export approximately 13.5 million metric tons of LNG per year and is approved to export to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and non-FTA countries, including Europe.

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This plant is part of the United States’ LNG expansion to meet growing global demand for refined gas. The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was based on the observation that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) did not apply the same emissions limits to the Port Arthur plant as it did to other projects, including the Rio Grande LNG project, currently under construction.

Sempra, through a statement, reported that the project works continue according to the existing permits and reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with the TCEQ. Additionally, they expressed their intention to actively evaluate options to mitigate any potential impact of the decision on the project schedule and cost.

“The Commission is not forever bound by the emissions limits it established for Rio Grande LNG for all subsequent permits, but in making those individualized determinations, the Commission must demonstrate that it is treating permit applications in a consistent manner,” said the Commission. court.

The determination refers the permit application for the Port Arthur Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for further review.

“We are committed to meeting or exceeding the expectations of our regulators and other stakeholders and we will continue to work with the TCEQ and are confident that the agency will act quickly and appropriately to resolve this matter, ” Sempra said.

Sempra Infrastructure retains a 28% indirect stake in the first phase of the plant, with ConocoPhillips, the oil and gas company, owning 30%. Investment firm KKR owns 20% of Sempra Infrastructure, while Sempra Energy holds 70%, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority holds 10%.

John Beard, executive director of Port Arthur Community Action Network, which filed the lawsuit challenging the TCEQ, said of the ruling that “we have won by advocating for Port Arthur’s communities of color to breathe free of toxic pollution. When they attack us, we fight back and win”.

The court’s determination aligns with the growing pressure faced by regulators and the Biden administration to restrict the expansion of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects in the United States, according to Alex Munton, director of Global Gas and LNG Research at Rapidan Energy Group.

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