Regulators Approve Sempra Energy’s Request for Extension on Build of Natural Gas Pipelines

San Diego companies
FILE PHOTO: Sempra Energy headquarters, pictured in downtown San Diego in 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has said that it granted Sempra Energy an extension to build two pipelines in Texas and Louisiana to connect to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant.

NextDecade Corp. is also seeking more time to build a Texas LNG project, according to the Thursday announcement.

Sempra, with headquarters in San Diego, was granted an extension until March 31, 2023, for the two pipelines that will connect to its Port Arthur LNG plant, also in Texas.

NextDecade Corp on Wednesday also sought an extension, to November 2028, for its Rio Grande LNG project in Brownsville, Tex.

NextDecade did not reply to a request for comment.

NextDecade on Wednesday also announced it had reached a 20-year deal to supply 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG from the proposed Rio Grande facility to a unit of China’s ENN Natural Gas Co.

Several LNG developers have announced new deals this year that could push ahead proposed plants. Energy Transfer signed a 2.7 MTPA deal with ENN while Mexico Pacific Ltd. received a 2 MPTA deal from Chinese gas and power supplier Guangzhou Development Co.

In January, NextDecade said a financial investment decision for the Rio Grande LNG project would be delayed until the second half of the year. It was originally expected to start producing LNG in 2023.

At the start of 2020 and again in 2021, roughly a dozen firms signaled plans for financial investment decisions on proposed projects. But only Sempra’s Costa Azul in Mexico started construction in 2020. Numerous others have been pushed into 2022.

(Reporting by Marcy de Luna; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Leslie Adler)

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