After six months of deliberation, the U.S. Department of Energy announced today that it has approved Dominion's (NYSE: D ) Maryland Cove Point LNG facility for natural gas exports to non-Free Trade Agreement countries.
"We agree with the DOE's decision that exports are expected to bring economic benefits to the country," said Dominion Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Farrell II in a statement today. "It is good news on many fronts, including the thousands of jobs that will be created, the boost in government revenues that will result, and the support it provides to allied nations. Dominion Cove Point is an ideal location for a cost-effective and environmentally compatible export facility. Dominion is dedicated to constructing a safe and reliable facility that is an asset to the community, state, and country."
The green light for Dominion is only the fourth such approval for U.S. facilities, and will allow the utility to export up to 0.77 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. Dominion expects to spend $3.4 billion to $3.8 billion to get its Cove Point facility up and running, and capacity is already fully subscribed to Japanese and India buyers under two 20-year terminal service agreements.
Dominion will break ground on its newest project in 2014, with operations up and running in 2017.