Cheniere Energy has initiated permitting process for expanding the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity at its Sabine Pass liquefaction project in Louisiana, US by nearly 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

An announcement in this regard was made by the company’s subsidiary Cheniere Energy Partners, stating that some of its subsidiaries have started the pre-filing review process under the National Environmental Policy Act with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The proposed Sabine Pass Stage 5 expansion project (SPL Expansion Project) will be located near the existing liquefaction project in Cameron Parish.

Currently, the liquefaction project has six fully operational liquefaction units with a combined capacity of around 30mtpa of LNG.

The expansion project will see the addition of up to three large-scale liquefaction trains. Each of the trains is planned to have a production capacity of around 6.5mtpa of LNG.

The trains will each have a boil-off-gas (BOG) re-liquefaction unit with a production capacity of around 0.75mtpa of LNG along with two LNG storage tanks with each having a capacity of 220,000m3.

According to Cheniere Energy Partners, the LNG expansion project will accommodate waste heat recovery and carbon capture from acid gas removal units.

The company has appointed Bechtel Energy to undertake a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study of the Sabine Pass expansion project.

Cheniere Energy Partners chairman, president, and CEO Jack Fusco said: “The SPL Expansion Project is being designed to leverage the infrastructure platform we’ve built at Sabine Pass to deliver economically advantaged incremental LNG capacity in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

“We are committed to developing the SPL Expansion Project utilising the same rigorous and financially disciplined approach to project development and capital investment that’s become synonymous with the Cheniere brand.”

Cheniere Energy Partners said that the project’s development and any essential supporting infrastructure is conditional on obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals and permits. It will also be contingent on adequate commercial and financing arrangements before making a final investment decision (FID).