Cameron LNG LLC asked U.S. energy regulators for a 72-month extension until May 2026 to build the second phase of the joint venture's Cameron LNG export plant in Louisiana.

The company said in a filing with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Jan. 24 that it anticipates making a final investment decision (FID) by mid-2021 to add two additional liquefaction trains.

Cameron LNG said construction of the new trains would likely take up to 58 months.

One train is already operating at the plant and the company has said it expects trains two and three to enter commercial service in the first and third quarters of 2020, respectively. The company has said the first phase of the project cost about $10 billion.

All of the trains at Cameron are designed to export about 5.0 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), or 0.66 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), according to the FERC filing. One billion cubic feet is enough gas for about five million U.S. homes.

Just looking at terminals under construction, U.S. LNG export capacity is expected to jump to 10 Bcf/d by the end of 2020 and 10.7 Bcf/d in 2021 from 7.8 Bcf/d now.

That keeps the U.S. on track to become the biggest LNG exporter in the world by 2024, up from number three in 2019 behind Australia and Qatar.

FERC approved construction of Cameron four and five in May 2016 in an order that required Cameron LNG to put the units in service within four years by May 2020.

Cameron said it has already spent about $50 million related to the Cameron expansion project, including development costs.

The company said it was not able to start work on Cameron four and five in part due to a change circumstances of one of its joint venture partners.

In 2016, one of the former partners said it did not wish to invest additional capital into the expansion project. Cameron LNG did not name the partner but said in the filing that Total SA acquired Engie SA's interest in the venture in July 2018.

Cameron is owned by affiliates of Sempra Energy, Total, Mitsui & Co Ltd. and Japan LNG Investment LLC, a company jointly owned by Mitsubishi Corp. and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK). Sempra indirectly owns 50.2% of Cameron.

McDermott International Inc. and Chiyoda Corp. are the lead contractors at Cameron.