Category Archives: Sabine Pass

India: GAIL to Finalize USD 12 Billion Gas Deal

State-run gas company GAIL is just steps away from signing a 20-year contract for shipping two million tonnes of LNG a year from US east coast, The Times of India said, citing sources close to the development.

Value of this contract would be approximately $12 billion.

GAIL executives were in the US last week in order to give final touches to the deal, the newspaper said.

In December 2011, GAIL inked a $20 billion contract with Sabine Pass Liquefaction for 3.5 million tonnes of LNG annually.

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Feds approve Cheniere’s plan to export natural gas

imageApril 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm
by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

Houston-based Cheniere Energy on Monday cleared the final major hurdle to exporting natural gas when federal regulators approved the firm’s plan to build a plant in southwest Louisiana for liquefying the fuel.

The decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission puts Cheniere on track to convert its existing Sabine Pass terminal for receiving liquefied natural gas by 2015 — a timeline that would make it the first LNG export facility in the lower 48 states. One operates now in Alaska.

The company aims to export up to 3.5 million tons per year from the facility in Lake Charles, La. Cheniere plans to build the liquefaction plant in two stages, adding 191 acres to the existing terminal’s space. The facility would still be able to receive liquefied natural gas from tankers.

“Obtaining approval from the FERC is one more milestone for our liquefaction project,” said Cheniere CEO Charif Souki. “We will now finalize the financing arrangements in order to commence construction.”

About half a dozen other companies, including Texas-based Freeport LNG, also are pursuing exports to take advantage of the glut of natural gas produced in the U.S. using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that free hydrocarbons from dense shale rock formations.

Exports would allow natural gas producers and processors to capitalize on higher prices globally compared to the United States. In the U.S. Monday, natural gas futures settled just over $2 per million British thermal units after hitting 10-year lows last week.

In Cheniere’s case, the strategy is a bid to put its receiving terminal to work. The Sabine Pass terminal went online in 2009, just as U.S. natural gas production surged and killed the need for LNG imports.

When natural gas is cooled to 256 degrees below zero it becomes a liquid that tanker ships can transport. At its destination it is converted back into gas. Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal is outfitted with regassification and storage equipment now.

In approving Cheniere’s liquefaction plant plans, FERC also could also give a boost to U.S. producers with big natural gas portfolios.

But a rise in natural gas prices would increase consumers’ monthly bills and also would be bad news for chemical manufacturers that use natural gas as a building block to create other products.

Congressional Democrats have proposed legislation that would ban new LNG exports. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who is pushing a ban, said the expert terminals would mean sending U.S. natural gas to China and Europe 00 and “exporting our manufacturing jobs abroad along with the fuel.”

“America should exploit her competitive advantage with lower natural gas prices to create jobs in the United States, not export natural gas to create more profits for oil and gas companies,” Markey said.

And environmentalists have asked top Obama administration officials to require a broader review of the consequences of the surge in natural gas drilling that probably would result from selling the fuel overseas.

Critics fear hydraulic fracturing can contaminate water supplies and cause localized earthquakes. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement Monday that exports would increase production and hydraulic fracturing, “making a dirty fuel more dangerous and putting more American families in at risk.”

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USA: Cheniere to Raise Up to USD 4 Billion in Debt for Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project

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Cheniere Energy Partners said today that it has engaged eight financial institutions to act as Joint Lead Arrangers to assist in the structuring and arranging of up to $4 billion of debt facilities.

The proceeds will be used to pay for costs of development and construction of the liquefaction project at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, to fund the acquisition of the Creole Trail Pipeline from Cheniere Energy, and for general business purposes. As previously disclosed, estimated capital costs before financing for the first two trains of the liquefaction project of $4.5 billion to $5.0 billion are expected to be funded from a combination of debt and equity financings.

The eight Arrangers are The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, HSBC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Morgan Stanley, RBC Capital Markets, and SG Americas Securities, LLC.

Obtaining financing is one of the last steps to complete before proceeding with the construction of the first two liquefaction trains being developed at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal,” said Charif Souki, Chairman and CEO. “We have engaged an experienced group of financial institutions as our core banking group and look forward to completing the financing for the project in due course.”

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Will the US Become the World’s Largest Exporter of LNG?

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Sabine Pass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. LNG ship, Celestine River, moored at the unloading berth of Cheniere Energy's $800M terminal following her maiden voyage with the project's first cargo. Image: Bechtel

 

By John R. Siegel

(Barrons) By 2017 the U.S. could be the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world, surpassing leading LNG exporters Qatar and Australia. There is one big “if,” however. America can produce more gas, export a surplus, improve the trade deficit, create jobs, generate taxable profits and reduce its dependence on foreign energy if the marketplace is allowed to work and politics doesn’t get in the way.

In May 2011 Cheniere Energy received an Energy Department license to export LNG from its Sabine Pass LNG import terminal in Louisiana. Cheniere subsequently reached long-term deals with the U.K.’s BG Group, Spain’s Gas Natural and India’s GAIL. Cheniere is targeting operation in 2016 and plans to export up to 730 billion cubic feet of LNG annually, roughly 3% of current U.S. gas production.

Sabine Pass originally was built as an import facility to alleviate projected U.S. gas shortages. Shale-gas technology changed that assumption radically. Now Sabine Pass is attractive because it already possesses much of the infrastructure for an export plant: LNG storage tanks, gas-handling facilities and docking terminals. Only a liquefaction plant is needed to convert natural gas into LNG. Overall, Cheniere can create its export terminal for half the investment required for a new one.

With world oil over $100 per barrel, equivalent to $17 per million BTUs of gas, versus domestic natural gas at $2.10 per million BTUs, the opportunity is obvious: Cheniere can deliver its gas to Asia or European customers well below current market prices.

Six developers with existing import terminals are following the Sabine Pass model. And Cheniere has another project in Corpus Christi. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, Gulf LNG projects can economically target the lucrative Asia market. By 2017, the U.S. could be exporting upwards of 13 billion cubic feet of LNG per day.

But exporters must overcome growing opposition to LNG exports by environmentalists and industrial users of natural gas. Exporters must also get multiple permits from environmentally conscious federal officials. And Rep. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.) has proposed legislation to bar federal approval of any LNG export terminals until 2025. Those who most fear global warming don’t want anyone anywhere to use more fossil fuel, even “cleaner” natural gas.

It is uphill for the anti-gas crowd. High oil prices are driving a transition to natural gas, even as fuel for trucks and cars. In the U.S., the T. Boone Pickens Plan would displace gasoline and diesel fuel for compressed natural gas in large trucks. Pickens estimates savings of two million barrels per day of oil imports if the nation’s fleet of 18-wheelers converts to CNG. The Pickens Plan might fail legislatively because it calls for subsidies to fuel the transition. But if CNG’s nearly $2-per-gallon price advantage over gasoline continues, the concept will evolve via natural market forces, as it should.

THE ENERGY DEPARTMENT SAYS natural gas has grown its market share in the U.S. in the past three years from 28% to 30%. Globally, the trend is similar, and LNG is integral to the global supply chain.

Despite the recession, global LNG demand has been growing at a 6% to 8% annual clip for the past 10 years. When demand collapsed in 2009, prices in Asian markets fell 50% to about $5 per million BTUs. But the price drop was also driven by the rapid growth in U.S. shale gas. U.S. natural-gas supply — flatlined for a decade at 19 trillion to 20 trillion cubic feet annually — increased 15% in the past three years due to the shale-gas revolution. Technology advances created a supply perturbation. As U.S. gas prices plunged, LNG cargoes bound for the U.S. had no market.

Global LNG markets are growing again. By late 2010, the main Asian consumers — Japan, Korea and Taiwan — were seeking more LNG, while new customers such as Thailand were entering the market. The Japan tsunami put a call on LNG imports to supplant Japan’s nuclear shutdowns, and with increasing demand, Asian markets rebounded to the $15-per-million-BTU range. After the tsunami, Germany plans to close its nuclear plants. Most of Germany’s (and all of Europe’s) new supply will be gas-fired. Given the choices, would Europe rather grow its gas supply from Russia, North Africa or the U.S.? The policy implications should be obvious, even to the U.S.

Estimates of the job benefits from U.S. LNG projects depend on a variety of assumptions. Roughly 25,000 direct construction jobs would be created if all the projects are built. Increasing the U.S. natural-gas production base by another 13 billion cubic feet might translate to 450,000 direct and indirect jobs and $16 billion in annual tax revenue for federal and state coffers.

It’s easier to forecast improved trade balances. Exporting 13 BCF per day of LNG could generate about $45 billion annually. Reaching Pickens’ goals could offset another $70 billion annually of oil imports.

Exporting energy, however, rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Pickens wants cheap natural gas for his 18-wheelers and opposes LNG exports. Industrial gas users argue that a vibrant LNG industry would propel domestic gas prices higher. A study by Deloitte said that exporting six 6 BCF per day of LNG would raise wellhead gas prices by 12 cents per million BTU (about 1% on a retail basis). Advocates of “energy independence” argue that exporting LNG would tie U.S. natural gas prices to global markets.

The Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy is considering whether exporting LNG is in the public interest. In the meantime — shades of Keystone XL — the department has effectively put a moratorium on new LNG export licenses.

Energy’s decision-making process balances the extent to which exporting LNG drives up prices with the economic benefits of increased production and energy exports. The price assessment comes at a time when U.S. gas fetches the same price in constant dollars as it did in 1975. Producers are now shutting down production and lowering exploration budgets. The shale-gas “job machine” is now in reverse.

Energy’s price study, released in January, found that exporting six BCF per day would increase wellhead prices by 50 to 60 cents per million BTU by 2026. The study has a myriad of assumptions and scenarios, the most fundamental of which is future gas production. In 2007, Energy predicted the U.S. would be importing 12.3 BCF a day of LNG by 2030 due to falling gas production. But primarily because of the shale-technology phenomenon, wellhead prices have tumbled from $6.25 six years ago, even as demand increased by eight BCF per day. That demand figure is larger than the six BCF assumption of the Energy study. The Energy Department is not particularly to blame, as most forecasters got it just as wrong on gas production.

Ideally, the Energy Department should move quickly and recognize free-market principles. And the administration could send a clear policy signal that natural gas is integral to the country’s energy future and that exporting LNG is good economics and consistent with its 2010 State of the Union address to double U.S. exports over five years and create two million new jobs. But Energy is moving slowly, and administration signals on natural gas are mostly lip service. The economic-benefits study should have been done by the end of March. But last week, Energy delayed its release until late summer, and said there is no timeline to review results and develop policy recommendations. Translation: after the election.

While we are fantasizing, the government could stop singling out the job-creating energy industry for higher taxes, emphasize cost/benefit analysis before adding further regulation to energy production, and get out of the business of regulating LNG exports altogether, which smacks of protectionism. To that end, should we also give veto authority to the Agriculture Department over grain exports (to lower corn prices) and the Commerce Department over auto, airplane and smartphone exports?

JOHN R. SIEGEL is the president of J.J. Richardson, a registered investment advisor that manages a hedge fund in Bethesda, Md.

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

By gCaptain Staff On April 8, 2012

USA: Cheniere CEO Sees Domestic Gas Prices at USD 2/MMBtu

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In an interview on E&ETV yesterday, Cheniere CEO Charif Souki said that domestic natural gas prices could drop to $2 per million British thermal units as a result of improved drilling technologies, regardless of whether LNG exports are increased.

The rationale is this is no longer an exploration play. We know where the resource is. This is now a technology play. Technology plays become better, not worse.

We are learning how to image better, so we know where we have to drill. Our drill bits are getting better, so we know how to manage them and get them to the right place faster and better with less intrusion.

John Berge was talking last week about being able to reduce the amount of water used in the fracking process by 80 percent over the next few years. So, this is going to become a better and better process,” he said.

“We’re very early in the learning curve and we’re going to be able to find this resource more easily, faster and cheaper over a long period of time.

Whatever we can do to export is not going to be sufficient to make any impact at all. Most of the studies talk about 20 cents, I would propose that 20 cents statistically is insignificant, because gas prices can go up or down 20 cents every week. So, over a 20 year period, if our impact by modeling is 20 cents, that’s fine,” he added.

Cheniere of USA is developing a project to add liquefaction and export capabilities to the existing infrastructure at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal.

The Liquefaction Project is being designed and permitted for up to four modular LNG trains, each with a nominal capacity of approximately 4.5 mtpa.

In November 2011, Sabine Liquefaction, a unit of Cheniere, entered into a lump sum turnkey contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the first two trains of the project with Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals.

Sabine Liquefaction has also entered into four long-term customer sale and purchase agreements for 16 mtpa of LNG volumes, which represents approximately 89 percent of the nominal LNG volumes.

The customers include BG Gulf Coast LNG for 5.5 mtpa, Gas Natural Fenosa for 3.5 mtpa, KOGAS for 3.5 mtpa and GAIL (India) for 3.5 mtpa.

LNG World News Staff

USA: Cheniere Urges FERC to Approve Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project

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Cheniere Energy of USA has urged Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve construction of its Sabine Pass liquefaction project by Thursday to prevent any project delays.

In a letter sent to FERC, Cheniere said failure to receive FERC authorization by Thursday could result in delays in construction of the liquefaction project and significant price increases.

Cheniere is developing a project to add liquefaction and export capabilities to the existing infrastructure at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal.

The Liquefaction Project is being designed and permitted for up to four modular LNG trains, each with a nominal capacity of approximately 4.5 mtpa.

In November, Sabine Liquefaction entered into a lump sum turnkey contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the first two trains of the project with Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals.

Sabine Liquefaction has also entered into four long-term customer sale and purchase agreements for 16.0 mtpa of LNG volumes.

The customers include BG Gulf Coast LNG for 5.5 mtpa, Gas Natural Fenosa for 3.5 mtpa, KOGAS for 3.5 mtpa and GAIL (India) for 3.5 mtpa.

Source

Blackstone to Invest $2 Billion in Cheniere Energy in Bet on LNG Expansion

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By Jim Polson – Feb 27, 2012 7:49 AM CT

Cheniere Energy Partners LP (CQP) said Blackstone Group LP (BX) agreed to invest $2 billion toward construction of a $5 billion natural-gas export terminal.

The financing is a “significant milestone” toward Cheniere’s plan to build the plant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charif Souki said in a statement today. If built, the plant would be the first constructed in more than four decades to export U.S. natural gas by ship.

Cheniere Energy is seeking final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the plant, which would liquefy gas for export from its existing import terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The Houston-based company obtained Energy Department approval to export after U.S. production of the fuel surged from hydraulic fracturing.

“Obtaining this financing will be a significant milestone for the advancement of construction for the first two liquefaction units,” Charif Souki, chairman and chief executive officer of Cheniere Energy Partners and its parent, Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG), said in today’s statement.

The Blackstone entities have agreed to buy 111 million new senior subordinated paid-in-kind units for $18 billion each, according to the statement. Final terms are contingent on Cheniere securing debt financing.

Starting Construction

Cheniere expects to obtain the remaining financing by March 31 and to begin construction by June 30, according to the statement.

The units that Blackstone is buying will pay 4.2 percent interest quarterly and convert to partnership common units once the first two sections of the plant begin commercial operation. Cheniere Energy Partners will use cash from the sale to buy the pipeline that connects the terminal to the U.S. gas pipeline network from Cheniere Energy Inc., according to today’s statement.

The announcement was made before regular trading began on U.S. markets. Cheniere Energy Partners rose 6.7 percent to $22.30 at 8:46 a.m. in New York. Cheniere Energy Inc. rose 17 percent to $16.42.

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Cheniere: Sabine 1,2 Train Construction Start in H1 2012 (USA)

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Cheniere Energy Partners reported a net loss of $7.5 million and $31.0 million for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, compared to a net loss of $2.7 million and net income of $107.6 million for the same periods in 2010.

For the year ended December 31, 2011, affiliate revenues decreased $116.3 million primarily as a result of the assignment of the terminal use agreement (TUA) in June 2010 from Cheniere Marketing to Cheniere Energy Investments, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, which required Cheniere to eliminate for consolidated reporting purposes the TUA revenues under this contract to Sabine Pass LNG.

Overview of Significant Events

During 2011, Sabine Pass Liquefaction made significant progress on the liquefaction project being developed at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, including the following:

  • received an order from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with authorization to export domestically produced natural gas from the Sabine Pass LNG terminal as LNG to any country that has, or in the future develops, the capacity to import LNG and with which trade is permissible;
  • entered into a lump sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreement with Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals for the first two LNG trains and related facilities at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal for a contract price of $3.9 billion, which is subject to adjustment by change order; and
  • sold an aggregate of approximately 10.5 million mtpa of LNG per year under three long-term LNG sale and purchase agreements (SPAs) which commence upon the date of first commercial delivery for the applicable LNG train.

During 2011, Cheniere received approximately $69.0 million in net proceeds through equity issuances, including:

  • approximately $9.0 million during the year from the sale of 0.5 million common units through an at-the-market (ATM) program; and
  • approximately $60.0 million in September 2011 from the sale of 3.0 million common units in an underwritten public offering and the sale of approximately 1.1 million common units to Cheniere Common Units Holding.

As of February 2012, Sabine Liquefaction has contracted additional volumes under SPAs and has now sold approximately 16.0 mtpa of LNG, or approximately 89% of the expected nameplate liquefaction volumes that will be available upon the completion of the liquefaction facilities. The fixed fee component for the SPAs equates to a range between $2.25 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) and $3.00 per MMBtu and, in aggregate, the fixed fee component from all four SPAs totals approximately $2.3 billion annually.

2011 Results

Cheniere Partners reported income from operations of $37.0 million and $144.6 million for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, respectively, compared to income from operations of $40.7 million and $280.8 million for the comparable periods in 2010.

Total revenues for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, were $70.8 million and $283.8 million, compared to total revenues of $72.1 million and $399.3 million for the comparable periods in 2010. Total revenues primarily include capacity payments received from customers in accordance with Cheniere’s TUAs and incremental revenues from tug services and re-export fees. Revenues from affiliates for the year ended December 31, 2011, decreased by $116.3 million when compared to the comparable period in 2010 due to the assignment of Cheniere Marketing’s TUA to Investments, partially offset by revenues from the variable capacity rights agreement (VCRA) with Cheniere Marketing.

Total operating costs and expenses for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, were $33.8 million and $139.2 million, respectively, compared to $31.4 million and $118.5 million for the comparable periods in 2010. Development expense (including affiliate) increased $25.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared to 2010, primarily due to expenses related to the proposed Liquefaction Project. Operating and maintenance expenses (including affiliate) decreased $5.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared to 2010, primarily due to decreased fuel costs as a result of efficiencies in our LNG inventory management.

Liquefaction Project Update

Cheniere continues to make progress on its Liquefaction Project, which is being designed and permitted for up to four liquefaction trains, each with a nominal production capability of approximately 4.5 mtpa. Cheniere anticipates LNG exports from the Sabine Pass LNG terminal could commence as early as 2015, with each liquefaction train commencing operations approximately six to nine months after the previous train.

Cheniere is advancing towards making a final investment decision on the first two liquefaction trains, which is subject, but not limited to, obtaining regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and obtaining financing. Cheniere estimates that the costs to construct the first two liquefaction trains will be approximately $4.5 billion to $5.0 billion, before financing costs. The company expects to finance the first two liquefaction trains with a combination of debt and equity. Construction is expected to commence in the first half of 2012.

Commencement of construction for liquefaction trains 3 and 4 is subject, but not limited to, regulatory approvals, entering into an EPC agreement, obtaining financing and making a final investment decision. Sabine Liquefaction has engaged Bechtel to complete front-end engineering and design work and to negotiate a lump sum turnkey contract. Construction for LNG trains 3 and 4 is targeted for early 2013.

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