Rio Grande LNG recently announced a major milestone that puts the project on track to receive federal authorization in July 2019 to proceed with construction. This timing is based on the Notice of Schedule released Aug. 31 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The federal agency reviews and permits all liquefied natural gas projects in the United States.
This Notice of Schedule sets the dates for the final steps leading to construction and commercial operations. According to the Perryman Group, this LNG export facility and associated natural gas pipeline will bring 4,000-6,000 jobs to the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Rio Grande LNG began the federal permitting process in 2015 with a pre-filing phase. During this time, the company held open houses at multiple locations in Cameron County. Since then, the project has gone through review by the public, as well as federal, state and local governmental agencies.
The next major milestone is this month when FERC plans to release the draft Environmental Impact Statement. The release will lead to a public comment period. After further review, FERC is set to release the final EIS in April 2019.
NextDecade Corporation, the Houston-based company developing the project, also has several important upcoming dates and milestones. The company expects to announce contracts in the first half of 2019. These will be customers who will buy LNG from Rio Grande LNG once commercial operations begin in several years.
NextDecade previously completed front-end engineering and design for the project. It expects to finalize a construction contract in 2019, prior to a final investment decision moving the project forward. Given the importance of the Rio Grande LNG project, NextDecade recently announced a competitive bid process to select an engineering, procurement and construction contractor with the technical and financial strength to safely deliver the project on-time and on-budget.
NextDecade remains focused on developing the Rio Grande LNG project and associated Rio Bravo Pipeline and greatly appreciates the outpouring of public support received for this proposed project.