U.S. energy regulators on June 15 approved Venture Global LNG's request to proceed with limited site preparation of the company's proposed Plaquemines LNG export plant in Louisiana.

The company said on its website it plans to start early construction work on Plaquemines in mid-2020 before financial close on the project in late 2020, with the plant expected to enter service in 2023.

If Venture Global goes forward with Plaquemines this year, it could be the only U.S. LNG project to enter construction in 2020 after most other developers delayed their projects as coronavirus lockdowns cut global demand for energy and caused gas prices in Europe and Asia to drop to record lows.

Officials at Venture Global were not immediately available for comment.

Plaquemines is designed to produce up to 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG, equal to about 2.6 Bcf/d of natural gas. Analysts estimated the plant will cost about $8.5 billion.

One billion cubic feet of gas is enough for about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

In addition to Plaquemines, Venture Global is building the 10-mtpa Calcasieu Pass LNG export plant in Louisiana, which is expected to cost about $4.5 billion and enter service in the autumn of 2022.

It is also developing the 20-mtpa Delta LNG export plant in Louisiana. On its website, the company said it hopes to decide to build the plant in the second half of 2021 with the first phase entering service in the second half of 2024 and the second phase in the second half of 2025.

Venture Global has said companies looking to buy gas from its facilities include Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Edison SpA, Galp Energia SGPS SA, BP Plc, Repsol SA and Polish Oil and Gas Co. (PGNiG).