Cheniere’s Key Role in the US’s Becoming a Global LNG Leader
IEA LNG forecast
The IEA (International Energy Agency) released a report on the global LNG (liquefied natural gas) outlook for next five years on July 13, 2017. The agency expects the United States to “challenge Australia and Qatar” in becoming a global leader in LNG exports by 2022.
The report hasn’t taken into account Qatar’s recent announcement that it will boost LNG exports. Qatar, which is currently the largest exporter of natural gas, accounting for more than one-third of global LNG exports, has recently announced a ~30% rise in its LNG capacity from 77 Mtpa (million tons per annum) to 100 Mtpa. However, Qatar’s growth plans could be in jeopardy if the current crisis in the region grows.
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Cheniere Energy’s LNG projects
Cheniere Energy (LNG), which was the first US company to start LNG exports from the lower 48 states, has a major role to play in the United States’ becoming a major LNG player.
The company has three LNG trains in operation and four trains under construction, including two at Sabine Pass and two at Corpus Christi. Following the completion of all seven trains, Cheniere Energy’s liquefaction capacity is expected to be 31.5 Mtpa.
The company has received approval for Train 6 at Sabine Pass and Train 3 at Corpus Christi. The final investment decision is pending these two trains. Moreover, according to the company, it’s “initiated [the] regulatory approval process” for Train 4 and Train 5 at Corpus Christi.
Apart from this, the company is evaluating its mid-scale LNG project, which is expected to include seven LNG trains, each with a capacity of 1.4 Mtpa, totaling a potential capacity of 9.8 Mtpa—equal to two large LNG trains.
Other US LNG projects
The four remaining LNG facilities include Freeport, Cameron, Dominion Resources’ (D) Cove Point LNG, and Kinder Morgan’s (KMI) Elba Island LNG. Kinder Morgan started construction in December 2016 after receiving the go-ahead from the US Department of Energy. The chart above shows projected US LNG capacity by the end of 2019.
Moreover, Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) recently announced a memorandum of understanding with South Korea’s Korea Gas Corporation and Shell to conduct a joint study of the Lake Charles LNG project. Energy Transfer received the authorization from the Department of Energy, and the final investment decision is still pending.