HOUSTON, June 10 (Reuters) -

U.S. regulators on Monday ordered liquefied natural gas developer Venture Global LNG to provide its customers with documents about the mechanical problems and startup of a Louisiana plant.

Venture Global LNG's Calcasieu Pass plant has been at the center of a long-running dispute involving energy companies including BP, Shell and others over access to LNG from the plant.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in its order that it would appoint an administrative judge to arrange details of the distribution of the commissioning documents. FERC wants Venture Global and customers to negotiate terms of the protective order.

The Arlington, Virginia-based firm's Calcasieu Pass plant has been producing and shipping LNG for more than two years, but has not provided contract customers with supplies, saying the plant is not yet fully operational.

BP and Shell in January

asked FERC to force

Venture Global LNG to release documents to determine why commercial operations were stalled, calling the delay "unprecedented and inexplicable."

A Venture Global spokesperson was not immediately available to comment. The company is one of the largest U.S. liquefied natural gas producers with 70 million metric tons of superchilled gas in operation, construction or under development.

BP, Shell, Edison, Repsol, Galp Energia and others who signed long term contracts to obtain LNG have said the lengthy commissioning has deprived them of billions of dollars in business.

Venture Global had objected to the energy company requests, saying it would not provide the documents unless ordered to do so.

But FERC rejected the move saying the firm “has failed to demonstrate why the “highly confidential” documents requested by Customers cannot be adequately protected by a protective agreement governing the documents.”

Its customers’ need for the information is not outweighed by Venture Global LNG’s need to protect it, especially under a protective agreement, FERC said. It ordered Venture Global to provide a copy of the requested documents to customers within five days of receiving an executed protective order.

FERC found customers’ stated interests do relate to the privileged information, which includes the reliability issues with the heat recovery steam generators that have necessitated the extension of time request and allegedly prevented Venture Global from providing service to its customers. (Reporting by Curtis Williams in Houston)