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Corpus Christi, Texas: APGA Files Motion in Opposition to Cheniere LNG Export Application

APGA filed a motion to intervene and protest in response to the application by Cheniere Marketing, LLC to export approximately 2.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/day) of LNG from the proposed Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project to any country that the United States does not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with.

To date, 20 applications have been filed at the Department of Energy (DOE) to export 28.67 Bcf/day of LNG to FTA countries. This equates to approximately 45 percent of our daily consumption. APGA members unanimously approved a resolution to oppose the export of LNG at the 2011 APGA Annual Conference.

In its filing APGA states that “proposed exports from Corpus Christi, Texas will increase domestic natural gas prices, burdening households and jeopardizing potential growth in the manufacturing sector, as well as the transition away from more environmentally damaging fossil fuels.” APGA’s comments also respond to a recently released DOE commissioned study on the macroeconomic impacts of LNG exports from the United States. Specifically, the comments state that although the study communicated that LNG exports will result in net economic benefits.

It also concluded that the higher the volume of LNG exports, the more domestic natural gas prices will rise. APGA’s filing concludes that “Cheniere’s proposal to export domestic LNG to non-FTA nations is inconsistent with the public interest because it will increase domestic natural gas and electricity prices to the detriment of all consumers, inhibit this nation’s ability to forge a path toward energy independence, and undermine sustained economic growth in key manufacturing sectors.”

USA: APGA Files Motion in Opposition to Cheniere LNG Export Application LNG World News.

Corpus Christi, TX: Cheniere files permits to build terminal, export LNG

By Mike D. Smith
Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.

CORPUS CHRISTI — Cheniere Energy has filed for permits from the federal government to build its proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in San Patricio County.

The company’s subsidiary, Corpus Christi Liquefaction, applied this past week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to build and operate the terminal along the La Quinta Channel near the Sherwin Alumina plant.

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is gas that is supercooled to liquid form for shipping. Cheniere then would export the product overseas.

The terminal — worth in excess of $10 billion — would feature storage tanks, docks and three liquefaction trains, or chilling facilities, each capable of processing millions of tons of natural gas.

Cheniere proposes processing about 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of LNG at the facility, drawn from sources including the gas-rich Eagle Ford Shale formation about 65 miles northwest of Corpus Christi.

The project includes a 23-mile pipeline that will tie in with the regional pipeline network.

Cheniere has more than 660 acres along the San Patricio County shoreline available for development, including a 52-acre piece under lease from the Port of Corpus Christi.

“After an eight month pre-filing process with the FERC, we have determined that our site at Corpus Christi meets all of the requirements of an attractive liquefaction project,” Charif Souki, chairman and CEO of Cheniere, said in a statement.

Cheniere once considered an LNG import facility at the same location. The import project received full approval from the federal government before plans were shelved because of market shifts.

That prior approval may help Cheniere with certain parts of its new export project during the approval process, company spokesman Andrew Ware said.

Company officials anticipate the terminal is on target to begin operation in late 2017.

Cheniere also applied for permission from the U.S. Department of Energy to export as much as 15 million tons per year of LNG from the site.

If approved, the department’s set of permits would allow Cheniere to export to all countries the U.S. has free trade agreements with and those it doesn’t, the company announced.

Due to an oversupply of natural gas in the U.S., low prices have made gas extraction less profitable.

Producers are flaring gas rather than selling it, which makes a case for exporting LNG to other countries, Ware said.

A condition of the Energy Department’s permission is that the company must prove there is an alternative public need for the gas the terminal will process, Ware said.

Cheniere also has applied for corresponding permits through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and air permits from the Environmental Protection Agency. The entire permitting process for the site is being marshaled by federal energy regulators, Ware said.

The company expects to have its regulatory approvals and financing commitments secure by early 2014, with construction beginning about that time.

Commercial agreements could be done by the third quarter of 2013.

© 2012 Corpus Christi Caller Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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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

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