US-listed New Fortress Energy is starting the environmental impact statement (EIS) for its planned quick start-up floating LNG (FLNG) production unit using its Fast LNG concept for the US Gulf of Mexico.

The Wes Edens-led company said on Tuesday that the US Coast Guard, in coordination with the Maritime Administration, has declared its deepwater port license application complete.

The company said it will proceed with the preparation of an EIS as part of the environmental review within the 356-day application process.

New Fortress said its application proposes the ownership, construction, operation, and eventual decommissioning of an offshore natural gas export deepwater port, known as New Fortress Energy Louisiana FLNG.

The LNG floater will be located in US waters about 16 nautical miles off the southeast coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana in a water depth of approximately 30 metres.

New Fortress said the deepwater port would allow for the export of around 145 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year, equivalent to approximately 2.8 million tons per annum of LNG.

Under its so-called “Fast LNG” concept, New Fortress is converting jack-up rigs and offshore vessels into FLNG units with the aim of making these quickly available at lower costs than existing LNG floaters and onshore liquefaction plants to monetise offshore gas reserves.

In a recent presentation, New Fortress put the cost of its Fast LNG solution at $1.2bn.

Speaking about the application for the US Gulf unit, company chairman and chief executive Edens said: “This is a significant step forward for our effort to build the first Fast LNG facility in the United States.”

“With rapid deployment, this project can help address the energy crisis in Europe and support our efforts to reduce energy poverty by providing more affordable, reliable and cleaner fuel to our growing portfolio of customers.”

New Fortress said that subject to the receipt of all required permits and approvals, it is targeting putting the unit into operation in the first quarter of 2023.

The company has previously announced that it is working with Italy’s Eni to use one of its Fast LNG units for a project in the Congo and has hooked up with Mauritania as another possible location for an FLNG project.