Exporters jockey for position in LNG race
Australian company postpones its move to Houston
Australia’s LNG Ltd. is delaying its anticipated move to Houston as well as plans to trade its shares on U.S. stock exchanges as it focuses on developing its liquefied natural gas export project near Lake Charles, La.
LNG Ltd. is among the companies launching so-called nextwave LNG projects that are expected to get underway soon and become operational early in the next decade, when LNG demand and prices are expected to rise. Its next-wave rival, NextDecade of The Woodlands and Tellurian of Houston, became publicly traded companies earlier this year.
Both the chief executive and the chairman of LNG Ltd. are already based out of Houston, and the company said it’s only a matter time before it formally moves its headquarters from Australia, where its shares now trade on that country’s stock exchange. CEO Greg Vesey said he’s focused on acquiring the necessary financing and contracts by mid-2018 to commence construction on the Magnolia LNG project in Louisiana so it can be completed by 2022.
Paul Cavicchi, the company’s chairman, said LNG Ltd. remains “committed to bringing the company to the U.S. market at an appropriate time best suited to maximize investor value. A U.S. listing is the right step for LNG, but we must ensure we proceed deliberately and remain attentive to all shareholder expectations.”
LNG Ltd.’s rivals, meanwhile, continue to make moves to position themselves for the projected pickup in the LNG market.
NextDecade said this month it just secured county tax breaks for its Rio Grande LNG export project in Texas near Brownsville, which it aims to open in 2022.
Meanwhile, Tellurian, which is developing the Driftwood LNG export project near Lake Charles, recently acquired Haynesville shale gas acreage in Louisiana for $85 million to generate its own natural gas for LNG production and export.
Tellurian, which is chaired by Cheniere Energy founder and LNG export pioneer Charif Souki, plans to sell about 60 percent of the equity stake in the Drift-
wood project to help raise the financing to get Driftwood off the ground.
The first wave of LNG export projects started with Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, which remains the only project up and running. Next up are Dominion Energy’s Cove Point project in Maryland and then Houstonbased Kinder Morgan’s Elba
Island terminal in Georgia.
A slew of Texas and Louisiana projects should come online in 2019 with Houston’s Freeport LNG terminal, Cheniere’s Corpus Christi project and Sempra Energy’s Cameron LNG project in Louisiana near the Texas state line.
LNG Ltd., NextDecade and Tellurian are among the companies trying to lead the second wave of LNG exporting after 2020.
Much of the competition comes from LNGexporting nations such as Australia and Qatar. Chevron’s $34 billion Wheatstone LNG export project just came online earlier this week in Western Australia.
A rendering shows the $4.3 billion Magnolia LNG project that LNG Ltd. plans to build on 115 acres south of Lake Charles, La., along the Calcasieu Ship Channel.