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NEW ORLEANS, March 27 (Reuters) - Cheniere Energy Inc plans to file a formal application in July or August to build a second liquefied natural gas export plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the company's chief executive officer told investors on Tuesday.
The Houston-based LNG developer said in December it plans to build the export plant at Corpus Christi in Texas, originally the site for a planned import terminal, but it will need to file for approval first.
"We expect it to be some time in July or August," Charif Souki, Cheniere's CEO, said at the Howard Weil energy conference.
The plant, which would have the capacity to export 1.8 billion cubic feet of gas per day, could be online by 2017, assuming permits are granted by mid-2013, the filing said.
Cheniere has signed long-term supply agreements with international buyers for its first proposed plant at Sabine Pass in Louisiana, which is expected to start up in 2015, pending regulatory approval.
Once expected to be a major importer, the United States now has up to a century's worth of natural gas supply, prompting plans to ship the cheap fuel to thirsty markets in Europe and Asia where prices are up to five times higher.
Corpus Christi would comprise three production trains, or units, all with the capacity to export 4.5 million tonnes per year of LNG.