Chief Executive Officer Charif Souki of Cheniere Energy told reporters outside of the Singapore International Energy Week conference that it will be the first company to export liquefied gas from U.S. shale fields in January. It will receive the natural gas to convert into super-chilled liquid fuel at its first U.S. LNG export terminal by the end of the year.
The company will add a new production train every six months until mid-2019, leaving it with seven total lines of gas liquefaction at its Sabine Pass project in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, and at another terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas accounting for almost half of the 65 million metric tons annually of LNG export capacity under construction in the United States.
Cheniere has sold most of its 31.5 million metric tons of LNG via long-term contracts, with about 4 million metric tons remaining for sale in spot markets, Souki said. Within days of Cheniere’s announcement, French energy company ENGIE, formerly GDF Suez, signed a five-years deal for LNG from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass plant.
“ENGIE is committed to guarantee the supply of its European customers with clean and reliable energy,” said Pierre Chareyre, the company’s executive vice president in charge of LNG, in a statement. “Importing U.S. LNG will participate to strengthen the security of supply of Europe.”
Supporters of LNG exports see it as a source of economic stimulus and a way to decrease Russia’s influence over Europe. Approximately 20 percent of European natural gas supplies come from Russia.
The territorial conflict between Russia and Ukraine and past Russian supply disruptions and threats of disruptions due to policy disputes between Russia and the EU pose the energy security dangers of EU’s dependence on natural gas supplies from Russia. ENGIE announced deliveries of LNG would start in 2018 and last over a five-year period. Oil Gas Daily reported, French rival EDF secured a sales agreement with Cheniere in August.