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Kinder Morgan executive chairman Richard Kinder. Image courtesy of Kinder Morgan.

Royal Dutch Shell said Wednesday it has agreed to sell its entire equity interest in the Elba Liquefaction Company to Kinder Morgan.

Elba Liquefaction Company (ELC) is the owner of the Elba Liquefaction Project,that is proposed to be constructed and operated at the existing Elba Island LNG Terminal near Savannah, Georgia.
Kinder Morgan currently owns 51 percent of the ELC joint venture.
Shell owns the remaining 49 percent and subscribes to 100 percent of the liquefaction capacity.
Houston-based Kinder Morgan will purchase the remaining 49 percent of the joint venture that it does not already own, Shell said.
Kinder Morgan’s expected incremental investment resulting from this transaction is $630 million, bringing its total incremental investment in all the liquefaction and terminal facilities at Elba Island to $2.1 billion.

Shell said that permitting is continuing for the proposed Elba Liquefaction Project, that consists of 10 small-scale liquefaction units to be purchased from Shell.

The units will be integrated with the existing Elba Island facility and “enable rapid construction compared to traditional large-scale plants,” Shell said.

The next step in the regulatory approval process is for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a draft environmental assessment.

Subject to regulatory approvals, construction could begin in fourth quarter of 2015, with initial production expected to occur in late 2017.

“We are very pleased to purchase Shell’s equity interest in the joint venture and advance the project with Shell’s continued support and subscription to 100 percent of the capacity of our world-class Elba Island terminal,” Kinder Morgan East Region Natural Gas Pipelines president Kimberly S. Watson said.

In 2012, the project received authorization from the Department of Energy to export to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries.

An application to export to non-FTA countries is pending.

Under full development, the Elba Liquefaction Project is expected to have a total capacity of 2.5 million tonnes per year of LNG for export, equivalent to 350,000 cubic feet per day of natural gas.

The project was first announced in January 2013 by Southern Liquefaction Company, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and a unit of Kinder Morgan, and Shell to add liquefaction and export capability to Southern LNG Company, existing liquefied natural gas regasification terminal at Elba Island in Chatham County, Georgia.