The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted Venture Global permission to start accepting and processing gas into liquefied form for export at its massive Plaquemines LNG export terminal, according to an April 23 filing.

However, the delivery date for LNG to long-term customers may still be several years away, according to comments made by Venture Global CEO Mike Sabel in December.

Superficially, FERC granted approval to “introduce hazardous fluids [natural gas] to the gas gate,” according to an April 23 letter sent to Venture Global.

The Plaquemines plant is about 20 miles down the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

According to a report from Reuters, Sabel said that the start up process at the Plaquemines plant will follow a similar process as at the company’s Calcasieu Pass LNG facility.

Venture Global has been in a battle with several long-term customers over the final commissioning of its Calcasieu Pass 1 plant. The facility has been producing LNG for more than 22 months. However, Venture Global has told its foundational customers, such as BP and Shell, that it cannot provide them with term-contract (price-guaranteed) cargoes until the FERC rules that the project is complete.

Once up and running, the Plaquemines plant will be one of the largest in the U.S., consuming more than 2.6 Bcf/d of natural gas and producing up to 20 MMmt of LNG a year.

Jen Snyder, an analyst for RBN Energy, wrote in a February examination of the Gulf gas flows that the project would have a major regional impact.

"For Southeast Louisiana, home to a massive industrial corridor along the Mississippi River as well as the U.S. natural gas benchmark Henry Hub, the introduction of such a huge source of demand will change how gas flows into and out of the region — with knock-on effects across the Gulf Coast," Snyder wrote.