The company has requested the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to initiate the process of review of its proposal, representing the first step of the estimated two-year permitting process.

The project requires 26 federal, state and local permits and licenses, including approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, US Department of Energy, US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The company will take a final decision on the development of the facility by the end of 2017, based on the approvals, public support, and commitments from customers.

Exelon Generation is the majority owner of the Annova LNG Brownsville Project.

Exelon president and CEO Ken Cornew said: "The US offers some of the most competitive supplies of natural gas in the world, and this project provides Exelon an opportunity to continue the growth of our wholesale gas businesses."

To be built beside the Brownsville Ship Channel, about 8 miles from the Gulf of Mexico in Cameron County, the terminal is expected to be completed in 2020.

Annova president David Chung said: "If we move forward, the project will be built with private funds, not taxpayer dollars and will provide a significant economic boost to the region."