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NextDecade still expects to make FID on Texas LNG export plant in 2021

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Oct 8 (Reuters) - U.S. liquefied natural gas developer NextDecade Corp said on Thursday it still anticipates making a final investment decision (FID) in 2021 to build at least two liquefaction trains at its proposed Rio Grande LNG export plant in Texas.

"We are engaged with a significant number of customers ... and we are working now to finalize binding commercial agreements to support this initial FID," NextDecade spokesman Patrick Hughes said in an email.

The note followed a company announcement this week that it has developed processes, including the use of carbon capture and storage, to reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions at its proposed LNG facility by about 90%.

NextDecade said it was also exploring options to address the remaining emissions at the plant to achieve carbon-neutrality.

Rio Grande is one of several North American LNG projects delayed this year as government lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus cut global demand for natural gas and other forms of energy.

At the start of this year, about a dozen North American LNG developers, including NextDecade, said they planned to make FIDs in 2020. That total is now down to just two and analysts said it is possible that only one or none of those projects will actually go forward this year.

NextDecade has said it has a 20-year agreement to supply 2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG from Rio Grande to a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

NextDecade also has a contract with engineering firm Bechtel to build two liquefaction trains for $7.042 billion or three trains for $9.565 billion. Each train can produce about 5.87 MTPA of LNG, or about 0.77 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

One billion cubic feet is enough gas for about five million U.S. homes for a day.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Chris Reese)