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Dominion shares hit all-time high on DOE approval

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Dominion Resources Inc. hit an all-time high Thursday, a day after the energy provider said that it received approval to export natural gas to countries with which the U.S. does not have free trade agreements.

THE SPARK: On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy gave Dominion Resources permission to expand exports of liquefied natural gas from its Cove Point terminal in Calvert County, Md.

THE BIG PICTURE: Selling U.S. natural gas overseas can be a lucrative market for energy companies. It is cheaper than natural gas sold from Europe and Asia.

Richmond, Va.-based Dominion expects to pay $3.4 billion to $3.8 billion to build facilities at Cove Point. The project still needs regulatory and permit approval, but if that goes as expected, Dominion said that it expects construction to start in 2014 and be completed by 2017.

The Energy Department said that developing America's natural gas resources could increase job creation around the nation.

SHARE ACTION: Up $2.03, or 3.5 percent, to $60.64 in afternoon trading Thursday. Earlier, they reached an all-time high of $61.94. Dominion shares are up 17 percent since the beginning of the year.