Energy group Dominion has held a ceremony to celebrate the construction of its new liquefaction project in southern Maryland.

Dominion is investing up to $3.8 billion in the Cove Point LNG Liquefaction project, which the company said will create thousands of skilled construction jobs and 75 permanent jobs, as well as bringing an additional $40 million in annual tax revenue to Calvert County.

Construction-related activities for the new facility started in October 2014 and it is anticipated to start operating in late 2017.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced at the plant will be exported to Japan and India. Dominion has signed 20-year service agreements with ST Cove Point, LLC, a joint venture of Japan's Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd.; and GAIL Global (USA) LNG LLC, a wholly owned indirect U.S. subsidiary of GAIL (India) Limited.

The facility will produce about 5.25 million metric tons of LNG annually for the two customers.

According to Dominion Chairman Thomas F. Farrell II, natural gas supplied from Cove Point will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons a year by replacing coal as the fuel for electricity generation.

Moreover, the LNG shipments from Cove Point are projected to reduce the U.S. trade imbalance by at least $2.8 billion, and possibly as much as $7.1 billion, annually.