San Diego Business Journal

Sempra Energy is poised to start production on the first unit of its Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in southern Louisiana.

The Houston Chronicle described a scene of more than 8,000 people working day and night to get the industrial facility up and running. The plant is designed to chill natural gas to 260 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, a point where the fuel becomes liquid and can easily be transported in ships.

S&P Global Platts reported the first production line is 99 percent complete.

It was unclear when the first line at the Cameron plant will start turning out a finished product. Published reports said the process would take weeks.

Sempra (NYSE: SRE) is building three production lines, called trains, at the plant. One Houston Chronicle photo showed more than a dozen construction cranes looming over the industrial site, a maze of pipes and steel superstructure.

The plant is in Hackberry, Louisiana, on the Gulf of Mexico near the Texas border. The Cameron plant is a joint venture of Sempra, Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Corp., Total (the French oil company) and NYK Line (the Japanese shipping company).

Separately, Sempra announced on Feb. 7 that it completed the sale of its non-utility natural gas storage assets in Mississippi and Alabama to Boston-based ArcLight Capital Partners for $328 million in cash. ArcLight is a private equity firm focused on energy infrastructure. Enstor Gas, an ArcLight affiliate, will operate the facilities.

“With the sale of these assets, we can reallocate capital toward growing our core electric and natural gas infrastructure businesses,” said Joe Householder, Sempra’s chief operating officer, in a prepared statement. “We are focused on expanding our leadership position in the most attractive markets as we strive to become North America’s premier energy infrastructure company.”

Wells Fargo Securities LLC was Sempra Energy’s financial adviser for the transaction. Jones Day was the corporation’s legal adviser.