Sempra Receives US Approval to Re-export LNG from Mexico

(Reuters) — The U.S. Energy Department on Tuesday approved permits for Sempra Energy to send U.S. natural gas to Mexico for re-export from LNG terminals, filings on its website showed.

The permits allow Sempra to ship natural gas via pipeline to Mexico where it will be converted to liquefied natural gas and sent to global markets.

The LNG will be exported from Sempra terminals Energy Costa Azul - which is being built in two phases, the first of which is expected to be completed in mid-2025 - and Vista Pacifico, which has not yet begun construction.

The department allows Sempra to export an LNG equivalent of 475 billion cubic feet per year of gas from the proposed Costa Azul facility, and 200 Bcf a year from Vista Pacifico.

Proponents of natural gas have been pressuring President Joe Biden's administration to quickly boost export permits for the fuel after the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the world's biggest exporter of fossil fuels.

While the permits will do nothing this year to help Europe while it faces an energy crisis, they will add alternatives to LNG from Russia for consumers, particularly in Asia.

Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who has been pressuring the Biden administration to approve LNG permits, had been blocking confirmation of four Biden energy department nominees. A congressional source said Cruz immediately lifted his holds on those nominees after the permits were approved.

The nominees included David Crane, a former chief executive of NRG Energy as under secretary for infrastructure, and Jeffrey Marootian for assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

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