Rio Grande LNG is proposed to be developed as 27Mfpa LNG export facility near 1,000-acre industrial site on the Port of Brownsville. It also includes 137 mile Rio Bravo project which will supply gas to the LNG facility.

NextDecade says that the application is a milestone in the development of the Rio Grande LNG, which looks to sign offtake agreements and make final investment decision (FID) in 2017.

NextDecade CEO Kathleen Eisbrenner said: "After a productive pre-filing with the FERC and extensive consultation and cooperation with the reviewing agencies and local communities, we are proud to have achieved this major accomplishment.

"Despite recent low oil and gas prices, we have found robust appetite for U.S. LNG on a long-term basis all around the world.

"This interest reaffirms the price competitiveness of U.S. LNG for customers looking to diversify their gas supply on a global level."

NextDecade expects to receive a formal approval from FERC by the end of first quarter of 2017. It believes that it will complete the commission the facility and start the operations at the Rio Grande facility by the end of 2020.

NextDecade says that when the construction of the facility will be completed, it will be one of the largest LNG facilities in the world, and it will offer, consumers free access to clean-burning natural gas.

The project, when it starts is expected to create between 4000 and 6000 construction jobs and also more than 200 permanent and well paid jobs. The company expects a potential investment of about $20bn in the coming years.

NextDecade senior vice president of development & regulatory affairs Shaun Davison said: "I want to thank the entire NextDecade team as well as our valued partners at CB&I, Ecology & Environment, Norton Rose Fulbright, HGA and CH-IV, to name just a few, for their monumental efforts to further advance the Rio Grande LNG project.

"In addition, we’d like to extend our appreciation to the people and communities of the Rio Grande Valley for their continued support and valuable insight, helping to make Rio Grande LNG a better project.

"Since well before our initial application was filed with the FERC in April 2015, we have been working tirelessly to develop an industry-leading project with the utmost care and attention to safety, respecting the people, preserving the environment and caring for the Rio Grande Valley’s way of life."