The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced that they will be “creating a new division in its Office of Energy Projects to accommodate the growing number and complexity of applications to site, build and operate liquefied natural gas export terminals.” The new division will be the Division of LNG Facility Review & Inspection (DLNG), and it will have “20 existing LNG staff members in Washington, D.C., and eight additional full-time staffers recruited in the Houston area and based in a new Houston Regional Office.”
FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in the announcement that, “As the demand for U.S. LNG and the number and complexity of project applications has grown, the Commission has experienced a similar growth in the need for FERC to expand its oversight in this program area. Much of the work related to these LNG projects, and the expertise it requires, is based in and around Houston, the so-called ‘Energy Capital of the World.’ For that reason, after careful research and evaluation, the Commission has determined we should direct our newest efforts to recruiting staff in the area to build upon the good work already being done on these issues at our D.C. headquarters.’”
FERC has had 13 staff members “dedicated to working on LNG engineering and review issues,” since April 2018. Since then, that number has grown to 20 staff members, “whose efforts are critical to completing engineering reviews, coordinating safety reviews with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at the Department of Transportation, and preparing engineering analyses for inclusion in environmental documents.” The DLNG and the Houston expansion are intended to help FERC prepare for additional work when “LNG project applicants make final investment decisions and move toward construction.”
The Office of the Executive Director and the Office of Energy Projects have started coordinating with General Services Administration about the office configuration and space requirements in the Houston office. There will soon be job postings for the additional staff, starting with the Division Director.