The Gemmata liquefied natural gas tanker left Dominion Energy Inc's Cove Point LNG export facility in Maryland early Friday, likely carrying the first export cargo from the facility that was expected to enter service in March, according to Reuters shipping data and energy traders.
Officials at Dominion were not immediately available for comment.
When the Gemmata docked at Cove Point earlier this week, analysts said it would likely be the first vessel to pick up fuel from the facility since the tanker came from Spain - a non-LNG exporting country - with less than a full cargo.
Dominion has spent about $4 billion to add export facilities at Cove Point, long an LNG import terminal on the Chesapeake Bay.
In addition to Gemmata, another vessel, the Methane Spirit, is also headed for Cove Point, according to Reuters shipping data. Methane Spirit is located near Singapore and is expected to reach Cove Point around March 31.
Once it enters service, Cove Point will be the second big LNG export terminal in the lower 48 U.S. states after Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass
terminal in Louisiana, which exported its first cargo in February 2016.
Cove Point is designed to liquefy about 0.75 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas. One bcfd can power about 5 million homes.
In December, Dominion said Royal Dutch Shell Plc would take the initial LNG cargoes from Cove Point. Gemmata is one of Shell's vessels.
The shipping data does not say where Gemmata is heading, noting it is available for orders.
Dominion sold the project's capacity for 20 years to a subsidiary of GAIL (India) Ltd and to ST Cove Point, a joint venture of units of Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corp and Tokyo Gas Co Ltd
Some of the LNG going to ST Cove Point will go to Tokyo Gas and some will go to Kansai Electric Power Co Inc, according to Sumitomo's Pacific Summit Energy (PSE) unit.
PSE agreed in 2013 to buy 0.35 bcfd of gas from Cabot Oil & Gas Corp's production in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for 20 years once Cove Point enters service.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino