Sempra Energy said its liquefied natural gas project in Louisiana obtained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, paving the way to its construction later this year.

“Today’s approval is another important step in delivering natural gas to America’s trading partners abroad,” said Sempra Chairman and CEO Debra Reed.

Sempra is a majority partner on the project with three international companies, affiliates of GDF Suez S.A., a French company; and two Japanese entities Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. Each of the three partners owns 16.6 percent in the subsidiary called Cameron LNG, while Sempra owns 50.2 percent.

Sempra said the total cost for the plant which transforms natural gas to liquid form so it can be exported, will be $9 billion to $10 billion. An earlier estimate of $6 billion provided two years ago didn’t include capitalized interest and other financing costs, said Paty Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Sempra International.

In order for the Cameron plant to export to Europe and Japan, which are nonfree trade nations, Sempra had to obtain permission from the U.S. Department of Energy. It received that permit earlier this year.

Cameron’s three facilities used to transform the gas to liquid are expected to come online in 2018, while the first full year of operation of LNG production is slated for 2019, Mitchell said.

At peak construction, some 3,000 workers will be on the site. Once it’s operational the plant will employ 140 full-time workers; an additional 45 full-time employees will be housed at Cameron LNG’s headquarters office in Houston, Mitchell said.