NEW YORK – A proposed Goldboro, Nova Scotia, liquefied-natural-gas terminal majority owned by The Carlyle Group and Riverstone Holdings LLC received a construction permit from regulators.

The decision by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board allows the MapleLNG plant, a venture of Rotterdam-based 4Gas and Russia-based Suntera Resources Ltd., to seek additional approvals, which could be resolved in the next few weeks, according to a company statement.

MapleLNG would serve the Canadian and U.S. natural-gas markets beginning in 2011 under the plan. The terminal has an initial design capacity of 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day, and could eventually be doubled, according to the company.

4Gas and Suntera bought the terminal from Keltic Petrochemicals in March 2006 and is one of five LNG ports the company has under development.

4Gas is owned by The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based buyout firm, and Riverstone of New York City.

Three are in Canada and are being reviewed by regulators. Two U.S. sites, one in Philadelphia and one off the New Jersey coast, are being considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Imports of LNG this year into the U.S. will probably be about 30 percent less than the 770 billion cubic feet recorded in 2007, the U.S. Energy Department said yesterday.

The flow of LNG into the U.S. is averaging about 900 million cubic feet a day so far this month, down from 2.8 billion cubic feet a day a year ago, Stacy Nieuwoudt, an analyst at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. in Houston, said in a note today.

LNG is gas that is cooled to a liquid for transport by ship to markets not connected by pipelines. The fuel is received at import terminals and converted back to a gaseous form so it can be piped to users.