Houston-based energy company Tellurian said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Energy granted its $30 billion liquefied natural gas project a long-term export license.
The company two weeks ago crossed a major regulatory threshold, winning approval for Driftwood LNG, as the project is known, from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Driftwood will include a 96-mile pipeline carrying natural gas down from the major pipeline hubs at Gillis and Eunice northeast of the project to the proposed gas liquefaction and export facilities on the west bank of the Calcasieu River, south of Lake Charles.
Tellurian still has to receive a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers permit and negotiate terms with prospective partners before it makes its final investment decision. It aims to raise $7 billion by selling stakes in its LNG throughput to partners, another $1 billion from private equity investors and $20 billion in project debt financing from banks. France's Total, India's Petronet and Switzerland-based commodities trader Vitol have all invested as partners.
Tellurian's Driftwood LNG is one of a slew of gas export projects in Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere that are in various stages of the approval process, and which are being rushed along by a supportive Trump administration.
The Energy Department license allows Tellurian to export up to 3.88 billion cubic feet per day of LNG to any country that does not have a free trade agreement with the United States.
"The United States is now in its third consecutive year as a net exporter of natural gas, now exporting domestic LNG to 35 countries. I applaud the American private sector for continuing to reach new milestones and look forward to continued growth in this sector,” said Energy Secretary Rick Perry.