Tellurian seeks three-year extension to finish Louisiana LNG plant (U.S.)

(Reuters) - U.S. LNG developer Tellurian Inc has asked regulators for a three-year construction permit extension to complete its $25-B LNG export facility, according a government filing.

The company received Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) approval in 2019 but did not start construction on its Driftwood LNG plant for three years. Tellurian is asking FERC, part of the Department of Energy, to extend its license into 2029 to complete the up to 27.6 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) Louisiana plant.

If built, the plant would be one of the largest U.S. LNG export terminals. Global demand for LNG is expected to grow by more than 50% by 2035 from 2022 levels, according to Michael Stoppard, global gas strategy lead at data provider S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Earlier this year, Tellurian rival Energy Transfer was denied U.S. approval for a second extension to its construction permit for the Lake Charles LNG plant. The department at the time said it would not automatically grant second extensions. ET has since applied for a new permit.

Tellurian said it is making progress but does not expect to receive key equipment for the plant's first phase "earlier than late 2027." Equipment deliveries for the plant's second phase will push full startup into 2029, it told regulators.

"Driftwood LNG is under construction and we are comfortable with the FERC processes and procedures," said Joi Lecznar, a Tellurian spokesperson.

The U.S. is the world's largest exporter of the superchilled gas and so far this year three projects have received financial go-aheads.

Tellurian Chairman Charif Souki has said recently he aims to offer up to 11 million of the plant's 27.6 million ton annual production under offtake agreements and other supplies to equity owners.

On several occasions Souki has altered Tellurian's strategy for recruiting customers and investor financing for the first, $14.5 billion phase of the Louisiana plant. At a recent investor presentation, the company said it might sell the first six months' worth of its LNG output to help finance the project.

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