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A joint venture between Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum International is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to export natural gas from a planned facility near the Louisiana-Texas border.

Golden Pass Products requested a permit to build and operate a $10 billion liquefied natural gas export plant at the site of its existing import terminal at Sabine Pass in Jefferson County, Texas, the Houston Chronicle said.

The FERC application could take 18 months or more.

It requires “environmental impact assessments, reviews by other agencies and public comment periods,” the Houston Chronicle said.

Eric Pletcher, president of Golden Pass LNG, called the FERC filing “a key step toward making the project a reality,” according to the report.

“To succeed in the permitting process requires years of work and investment and the determination of a strong team,” Pletcher said in a news release.

Golden Pass is waiting for a separate export license from the Energy Department to sell natural gas to Japan and other countries without U.S. free-trade pacts.

Houston-based Cheniere Energy already started development of a liquefaction plant and export terminal at its existing import facility near Golden Pass in Cameron Parish, La.