Dominion Energy gets natural gas export project approval

Producer and transporter of energy, Dominion Energy, received Federal approval to site, build and operate the Cove Point LNG liquefaction and export project. This means Dominion will be able to export liquefied natural gas from its Cove Point terminal in Maryland.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided late Monday that the project, as approved with conditions, will reduce to a minimum possible undesirable impacts on the environment and landowners.

This is the fourth LNG (liquefied natural gas) export project to be approved by the FERC; the first one on the East Coast.

The FERC spent over two years considering the proposal. During that period it heard from over 140 speakers at three meetings. It also received 650 comments from local, state and federal agencies.

Dominion Energy

Dominion says the facility will export about 5.75 metric tons of LNG annually when fully operational.

FERC said:

“The Commission found that the proposal, as mitigated with 79 conditions found in Appendix B of today’s order, is in the public interest.”

The Dominion Energy facility is one of about 20 projects that hope to export domestic natural gas to Europe and Asia.

Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy, said:

“We are pleased to receive this final approval that allows us to start constructing this important project that offers significant economic, environmental and geopolitical benefits. This order is based on more than two years of thorough, exhaustive analysis by FERC along with numerous other federal and state agencies. It also reflects a robust public input process. Dominion is dedicated to constructing a safe, secure, environmentally compatible and reliable export facility.”

Dominion Energy has been instructed by Federal authorities to review and accept the order, after which an implementation plan describing how it will adhere to the conditions in the order must be filed. When the FERC issues a ‘Notice to Proceed’ the company can start construction. Dominion said the whole process will take several weeks.

A boon for the community, say Dominion

The export project will cost between $3.4 billion and $3.8 billion to build and should create thousands of skilled construction jobs.

After completion there will be 75 permanent jobs, plus $40 million in annual tax income for Calvert County, the company informs.

There will also be millions of dollars of new income for Maryland and the federal government.

Ms. Leopold said:

“Cove Point has been a good neighbor to the region and to the Chesapeake Bay for almost four decades and we expect that record to continue. Initially, Cove Point helped the United States overcome what was then an energy shortage. Now that our nation is developing a burgeoning surplus of natural gas, Cove Point can help send a small portion of that surplus to allied nation’s looking for stable supplies of clean energy, supporting economic development and replacing coal as a fuel.”

Over the last ten years, the United States has become the world’s largest producer of natural gas, thanks to hydraulic fracturing (fracking).