Boom in LNG Could Add More Than 90 Million Tons of Greenhouse Gases a Year

25 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 25 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Four new LNG export terminals are under construction and expected to begin operating by 2026. Together, these four plants – Golden Pass and Port Arthur LNG 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 27.3 million tons of greenhouse gases per year.
  3. 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.
  4. Twelve more proposed LNG projects (10 new terminals and two expansions) 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 37.7 million tons of greenhouse gases per year.
  5. Altogether, the 25 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

Date Location Event
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
Port Arthur LNG – Units (“Trains”) 1 & 2 (Jefferson, TX) 13.5 4,659,930 2025
Plaquemines LNG (Plaquemines, LA) * 24.0 8,144,463 2025
Driftwood LNG (Calcasieu, LA) 27.6 9,513,442 2026/2028
TOTAL 83.2 27,257,907  

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
TOTAL 97.2 25,644,550

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 3 & 4 (Jefferson, TX) 13.5 3,081,270 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
TOTAL 130.3 37,756,316  

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 tpelton@environmentalintegrity.org