Delfin LNG has asked federal regulators to extend the amount of time it has to put the onshore part of its proposed Gulf of Mexico floating LNG export project off Louisiana into service until September 2023.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said on July 21 that Delfin sought the extension on July 15.

Delfin is one of several North American LNG export projects that delayed decisions to start construction in recent years in part because coronavirus demand destruction made customers unwilling to sign long-term deals needed to finance the multibillion-dollar facilities.

There are currently eight companies hoping to make final investment decisions (FIDs) in 2022 to build their plants in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. Many of those projects, like Delfin, have been delayed for years.

In September 2017, FERC authorized Delfin to put its project into service by September 2019. Since then, FERC has granted three one-year extensions to complete the project. The last extension required Delfin to put the project in service in September.

Delfin told FERC the LNG market “is strong with the current geopolitical importance of the Ukraine invasion and the initiative of the European Union to increase deliveries of U.S LNG to Europe.”

Earlier this month, Delfin agreed to sell 0.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG to a unit of Dutch trading company Vitol for 15 years.

Delfin's project would use existing offshore pipelines to supply gas to up to four vessels that could each produce about 3.5 mtpa of LNG.

The company has said each vessel would cost about $2 billion with the first expected to enter service around 2026, four years after the FID.

After the first FID, Delfin has said it would start on its Avocet project, which would add two more 3.5-mtpa liquefaction vessels.