Mitsubishi, Mitsui join with Sempra on Gulf Coast LNG export project

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April 17, 2012

(Bloomberg; April 17) - Mitsubishi and Mitsui have agreed to help Sempra Energy develop a $6 billion LNG export facility in Louisiana. Mitsubishi and Mitsui, both based in Tokyo, would each get one-third of the plant's 1.7 billion cubic feet a day of export capacity in exchange for helping develop the project, San Diego-based Sempra said April 17. The liquefaction plant will be part of Sempra's existing import terminal at Hackberry, La.

The three-train liquefaction project is estimated at $6 billion, the majority of which will be project-financed and the balance provided by the partners in a joint-venture arrangement. Construction will begin in late 2013 and the facility is expected to come online in late 2016, pending regulatory approval and financing, the company said in a statement.

A surge in U.S. shale gas production has led owners of liquefied natural gas import terminals to propose adding liquefaction capacity to their terminals so that they can get into the export trade. Demand in Asia has climbed as Japan's 10 regional electric utilities bought record amounts of LNG last year to generate power, replacing the output of nuclear plants. All but one of the nation's 54 power reactors has been shut after the March 11, 2011, nuclear disaster at Fukushima. 

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