Energy services holding company Sempra Energy said last week that the partners in the Cameron Liquefaction Project have approved a final investment decision.

The project involves Sempra LNG, GDF SUEZ S.A., Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation. The partners have agreed to invest in the development, construction and operation of natural gas liquefaction and export facilities planned at the site of Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG receipt terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana.

The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $10 billion, including contribution of the existing Cameron LNG facilities, construction of the new facilities and financing cost. Financing commitments for the project amount to $7.4 billion and will be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and a group of 29 commercial banks.

"Today's commitments from our project sponsors and international banks put us one step closer to delivering domestic natural gas to America's trading partners in Europe and Japan," commented Octavio M.C. Simoes, president of Sempra LNG.

The three-train natural gas liquefaction facilities will be able to export up to 12 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) each year, or approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet per day. All three trains are scheduled to start operating in 2018.

Construction work is expected to begin later this year, subject to final regulatory approval, satisfaction of conditions for the initial equity funding and release of the financing.

Sempra Energy will have an indirect ownership interest of 50.2 percent in Cameron LNG and the related liquefaction project, with the remainder owned by affiliates of GDF SUEZ, Mitsubishi (through a related company jointly established with Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, or NYK) and Mitsui, each with stakes of 16.6 percent.