US energy regulators create LNG division

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has reorganized its structure to create a new Division of LNG Facility Review & Inspection (DLNG), to accommodate the growing number and complexity of applications to site, build and operate liquefied natural gas export terminals.

The Commission is responsible for authorizing the siting and construction of onshore and near-shore LNG import or export facilities under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act. The first exports from the Lower 48 came in February 2016, when the first cargo shipped from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, but exports have since grown significantly. Since 2017, the U.S. has exported more natural gas than it imports. U.S. LNG export capacity is on track to double from 5 billion cubic feet per day to 10 Bcf/d by the end of 2020, with significantly more export capacity approved or pending.

The Commission has said that since April 2018, it has grown from 13 to 20 staff dedicated to working on LNG engineering and review issues. In addition, it has announced plans to hire eight more LNG experts to staff a new Houston Regional Office.

According to the Commission, its creation of DLNG and establishment of a new Houston office will help prepare the agency "for the additional work necessary once LNG project applicants make final investment decisions and move toward construction."