Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity L.P. said three of its subsidiaries have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build a previously announced natural gas liquefaction project under development in Lake Charles.

The Lake Charles liquefaction project is being developed to liquefy domestic supplies of natural gas for export to foreign countries. Energy Transfer says exporting LNG to the world market will provide a wide range of economic and employment related benefits for the United States. However, critics, including chemical manufacturing companies, worry that U.S. exports of natural gas will raise prices and hurt domestic firms’ ability to compete against their international rivals.

Energy Transfer and its subsidiaries continue to work closely with its customer BG Group plc in the development of the project.

As part of the project, Trunkline Gas Co. plans to extend its interstate natural gas pipeline approximately half a mile to provide feed gas to the liquefaction facility. The project is currently planned to export up to 15 million metric tons of LNG per year, or roughly 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Pending regulatory approvals, Trunkline LNG Export currently expects to begin project construction in 2014 and is anticipating the project to be in service in the spring of 2018.

Energy Transfer’s project would be the second in Louisiana. Cheniere Energy Partners LP has already secured $2 billion in financing to build a proposed liquefaction facility in Cameron Parish. Cheniere has signed contracts to sell most of the facility’s production.