Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG has gotten federal permission to export an additional 1.41 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the United States.

The U.S. Department of Energy's approval lifts Cameron LNG's export capacity to 24.92 million tons per year or 3.53 billion cubic feet per day. Construction on the first phase of the $10 billion project, which includes three liquefaction units, is underway. The facility is expected to begin operating in 2018.

Earlier this year, Cameron LNG received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the proposed expansion project, which includes two additional liquefaction units and one additional full containment LNG storage tank.

The expansion project will be located next to the Cameron LNG terminal and liquefaction facilities that were approved for construction in 2014 in Hackberry.