24 New and Expanding Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals in U.S. Could Add as Much Climate Pollution as All Traffic in Florida or New York State
Washington, D.C. – The soaring price of natural gas, driven in part by the war in Ukraine, is encouraging the development of 24 liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal projects in the U.S. that could emit more than 90 million tons of greenhouse gases a year, according to state and federal permits reviewed by the Environmental Integrity Project.
That’s as much climate-warming pollution as from about 18 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles running for a year – more than from all the cars and trucks in Florida or New York State.
In March 2022, as gas prices surged and fossil fuel advocates pushed U.S. LNG as a solution to European reliance on Russian gas, America exported 7.6 million tons of LNG, quadruple the amount four years earlier, according to the Environmental Integrity Project’s report, “Playing with Fire: The Climate Impact of the Rapid Growth of LNG.”
The Biden Administration has pledged to increase exports of LNG – a liquid form of natural gas that is transported globally on ships at sub-zero temperatures – and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has picked up the pace in approving permits for new and expanding LNG terminals in Texas, Louisiana, and other states.
“Although there is pressure to hurry up approvals of these LNG projects, government regulators should be careful and thoughtful in considering their significant environmental impacts,” said Alexandra Shaykevich, Research Manager at the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). “A dramatic increase in global dependence on LNG could be risky, from a climate perspective.”
EIP closely tracks the public records of new and expanding LNG export terminals and makes those documents available on Oil and Gas Watch, a website that monitors oil and gas related projects across the country. An analysis of those records, summarized in EIP’s new report, reveals the following:
- LNG produced in the U.S. is currently exported from seven terminals – three in Louisiana, two in Texas, and one each in Georgia and Maryland – six of which are already operating near capacity.
- Three new LNG export terminals are under construction and expected to begin operating by 2026. Together, these three plants – Golden Pass in Jefferson County, Texas; Driftwood LNG in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; and Plaquemines LNG in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana – have permits that allow them to release up to 22.6 million tons of greenhouse gases per year.
- Developers of nine additional planned LNG projects in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida (six new terminals and three expansions) have government permits, but have not yet started construction. These projects could release 25.6 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.
- Twelve more proposed LNG projects (11 new terminals and one expansion) have been proposed for Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas but are still waiting for government approvals. These projects could emit up to 42.4 million tons of greenhouse gases per year.
- Altogether, the 24 LNG projects currently under construction or in the planning phases could increase annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90 million tons of greenhouse gases per year. That’s more climate-warming pollution than from 20 new coal-fired power plants, or 18 million gas-powered cars running for a year.
It should be noted that these potential greenhouse gas impacts would only come from operating the LNG terminals themselves. They do not include emissions from drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or the eventual burning of gas in homes and businesses. If these upstream and downstream contributions are accounted for, the true climate footprint of LNG would be several times higher, according to EIP’s report.
Since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine on February 24, American companies have secured at least nineteen agreements to supply nearly 24 million tons of LNG per year, with around 7 million tons per year contracted by European buyers.
In addition, on March 31, New Fortress Energy announced the proposed construction of the first new LNG export facility since the start of the war: a new floating LNG terminal off the coast of Louisiana, with an expected operation date in early 2023. The developers of two other long-planned but stalled LNG projects – both in Louisiana – moved forward with construction in March and April, further showing strong financial support for LNG in the wartime market.
Below is a timeline from EIP’s report of recent major events in the rapid growth of LNG in the U.S.
Timeline of Developments in U.S. LNG Following Russian Invasion of Ukraine
|February 24||Ukraine||Russia launches major invasion of Ukraine, increasing global demand for LNG|
|February 24||Texas||Cheniere signs agreement for Corpus Christi Stage III to supply 1.7 million tons of LNG per year|
|March 9||Louisiana||Construction announced at Plaquemines LNG Terminal|
|March 16||Louisiana||Venture Global signs agreements to supply 2 million tons of LNG per year from the Plaquemines and CP2 LNG terminals|
|March 24||Texas||NextDecade signs agreement for Rio Grande LNG to supply 1.5 million tons of LNG per year to China|
|March 25||Louisiana, Mississippi||FERC approves Evangeline Pass Expansion and East Lateral Xpress pipeline projects|
|March 28||Louisiana||Construction announced at Driftwood LNG Terminal|
|March 29||Louisiana||Energy Transfer signs agreement for Lake Charles LNG to supply 2.7 million tons of LNG per year to China|
|March 31||Louisiana||New Fortress submits application to construct the Louisiana FLNG Terminal|
|April 6||Texas||NextDecade signs agreement for Rio Grande LNG to supply 1.5 million tons of LNG per year to China|
|May 2||Texas, Louisiana||NextDecade signs agreement for Rio Grande LNG to supply 1.75 million tons of LNG per year to France and Energy Transfer signs agreement for Lake Charles LNG to supply 2 million tons of LNG per year to Asia.|
|May 3||Louisiana||Energy Transfer signs agreement for Lake Charles LNG to supply 0.4 million tons of LNG per year to Korea|
|May 4||Texas||Cheniere signs agreement for Corpus Christi Stage III to supply 0.85 million tons of LNG per year|
|May 10||Louisiana||Venture Global signs agreements to supply 2 million tons of LNG per year to Asia from the Plaquemines and CP2 LNG terminals|
|May 11||Louisiana||Venture Global signs agreement to supply 1 million tons of LNG per year to Malaysia from Plaquemines LNG|
|May 16||Texas, Louisiana||Sempra signs agreements to supply 3 million tons of LNG per year to Poland from the Cameron and Port Arthur LNG terminals|
|May 25||Texas, Louisiana||Sempra signs agreement for Port Arthur LNG to supply 2.25 million tons of LNG per year to Germany and Cheniere signs agreement for Corpus Christi Stage III to supply 0.4 million tons of LNG per year to Korea. Venture Global reaches a final investment decision to proceed with construction of Plaquemines LNG.|
|June 5||Louisiana||Energy Transfer signs agreement for Lake Charles LNG to supply 0.7 million tons of LNG per year to China|
Source: Oil & Gas Watch (May 31, 2022); corporate filings and disclosures as of June 5, 2022
The seven LNG terminals operating in the U.S., in Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, and Maryland, reported releasing 12.3 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2020. The true greenhouse gas footprint of LNG is likely several times higher, when all upstream and downstream impacts are included.
Below are tables listing the locations of LNG terminals in the U.S. currently under construction or approved by the government, but have not started construction.
LNG EXPORT TERMINALS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION
|Project Name (County/Parish, State)||Capacity (million tons per year)||Permitted GHG Emissions
(tons per year CO2e)
|Expected Operating Date|
|Golden Pass LNG (Jefferson, TX)||18.1||4,940,072||2024/2026|
|Plaquemines LNG (Plaquemines, LA) *||24.0||8,144,463||2025|
|Driftwood LNG (Calcasieu, LA)||27.6||9,513,442||2026/2028|
Note: LNG is produced using liquefaction units called “trains.” Capacity figures represent peak liquefaction capacity, or the maximum amount of LNG that can be produced at the facility in a full calendar year. *Plaquemines LNG (CP22-92) is proposing to increase maximum liquefaction capacity to 27.2 mtpa. Source: Oil & Gas Watch (May 31, 2022)
LNG PROJECTS THAT HAVE PERMITS, BUT HAVE NOT STARTED CONSTRUCTION
|Project Name (County/Parish, State)||Capacity (million tons per year)||Permitted GHG Emissions
(tons per year CO2e)
|Deadline to Begin Construction||Expected Operating Date|
|Delfin LNG (Cameron, LA) *||13.0||5,302,396||7/18/2021||2023|
|Rio Grande LNG (Cameron, TX)||27.0||6,425,400||11/13/2023||2024|
|Lake Charles LNG (Calcasieu, LA)||16.5||4,321,253||9/3/2023||2025|
|Magnolia LNG (Calcasieu, LA)||8.8||2,459,715||9/21/2020||2026|
|Freeport LNG, unit 4 Project (Brazoria, TX) **||5.0||487,897||2026|
|Cameron LNG, units 4 & 5 (Cameron, LA) ***||10.0||5,071,105||1/24/2022||2026|
|Corpus Christi LNG, Stage 3 (San Patricio, TX)||11.5||900,845||12/28/2023||2027|
|Texas LNG Terminal (Cameron, TX)||4.5||604,087||5/12/2023||2027|
|Eagle Jacksonville LNG (Duval, FL)||1.0||71,852||2024/2025|
Note: LNG is produced using liquefaction units called “trains.” * Potential GHG emissions from the Delfin LNG export project include both the offshore export terminal and onshore facility; deadline to begin construction reflects the onshore facility. ** Freeport LNG has an application pending before the FERC that, if approved, would extend the deadline to complete the Train 4 project to August 1, 2028. *** Cameron LNG has an application pending before the FERC to modify the Expansion Project by removing Train 5 and reducing capacity to 7 mtpa, meaning emissions will likely be lower if the project is approved. Source: Oil & Gas Watch (May 31, 2022)
PROPOSED LNG PROJECTS SEEKING PERMITS TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION
|Project Name (County/Parish, State)||Capacity (million tons per year)||Permitted GHG Emissions (tons per year CO2e)||Expected Operating Date|
|Bradford County LNG (Bradford, PA)||***||1,107,679||2022|
|Gibbstown Logistics Center – Dock 2 Expansion Project (Gloucester, NJ)||2.4||TBD||2022|
|Nopetro LNG (Port St Joe, FL)||0.08||TBD||2022|
|New Fortress Louisiana FLNG Terminal (Jefferson, LA)||2.8||1,506,900||2023|
|Delta LNG (Plaquemines, LA)||24.0||7,771,098||2024|
|West Delta LNG (Plaquemines, LA)||6.1||1,041,670||2024|
|Port Arthur LNG – Trains 1 – 4 (Jefferson, TX)||27.04||7,741,044||2025|
|Alaska LNG (Kenai Peninsula, AK)||20.0||8,572,968||2025|
|Commonwealth LNG (Cameron, LA)||9.5||3,535,115||2025|
|Gulf LNG (Jackson, MS)||10.8||2,885,787||2025|
|CP2 LNG (Cameron, LA)||28.0||8,253,829||2026/2027|
|G2 LNG (Cameron, LA)||13.0||TBD||2027|
LNG produced at the Bradford County facility would be transported by truck and rail to the Gibbstown Logistics Center in New Jersey, where it would be loaded onto ships and exported overseas. Source: Oil & Gas Watch and FERC authorizations as of May 31, 2022.
For a full listing of LNG projects, and maps showing their locations, read the full report by clicking here.
For more information, visit EIP’s “Oil & Gas Watch” website, here.
The Environmental Integrity Project is a 20-year-old nonprofit organization, based in Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas, that is dedicated to enforcing environmental laws and strengthening policy to protect public health and the environment.
Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, 443-510-2574 or firstname.lastname@example.org