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NextDecade to certify natgas emissions for Texas Rio Grande LNG

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April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) developer NextDecade Corp said Monday it joined with Project Canary to certify the greenhouse gas intensity of LNG to be sold from its proposed Rio Grande export plant in Texas.

Rio Grande is one of 13 North American projects planning to make final investment decisions in 2021, most of which were carried over from 2020 when just one started construction.

Most analysts, however, expect only one or two projects to go forward this year, including Venture Global LNG's Plaquemines in Louisiana.

Analysts at Cowen & Co have said NextDecade's efforts to provide "cleaner" LNG could attract enough customers to allow the company to sanction Rio Grande.

Project Canary, which provides data on responsibly sourced gas, will certify emissions from the gas wellhead to Rio Grande.

“Project Canary’s independent measurement and certification platform will provide transparency and give confidence to our customers who are increasingly focused on securing low greenhouse gas-intensive LNG," NextDecade Chief Executive Matt Schatzman said in a statement.

In November, French energy company Engie SA pulled out of a deal with NextDecade due to French government concerns about environmental implications.

With demand for "cleaner" energy growing around the world, NextDecade said it was developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) for Rio Grande as part of its efforts to provide the "greenest" U.S. LNG exports.

Global LNG demand has increased every year since 2012 as energy use rises and countries transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to prevent global warming. Gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and is seen as a bridge to get from coal to renewable energy sources.

NextDecade has a contract with engineering company Bechtel Corp to build two liquefaction trains for $7.042 billion or three trains for $9.565 billion.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jonathan Oatis)