Jump in the Line

Thanks to a warm start to the season and low Asian demand for LNG, Europe has so far been able to stave off a worst-case scenario for natural gas supply this winter. Still, the European market is keeping a keen eye on the years ahead, when the continent will need to rely on new sources of LNG to meet demand and refill inventories with little chance of any Russian gas. The call for more LNG has ushered in a new wave of export-project development, with two U.S. projects reaching a positive final investment decision (FID) this year and LNG offtakers in Europe and elsewhere committing to an incredible 37 MMtpa (4.9 Bcf/d) of long-term contracts from pre-FID sites in North America. This momentum has revived a number of projects from the COVID-induced wasteland, including Sempra’s Port Arthur LNG. In today’s RBN blog, we continue our series on U.S. LNG projects by taking a closer look at Port Arthur, the one most likely to take FID next.

The world needs more LNG and the U.S. is answering that call. Two U.S. liquefaction projects, Venture Global’s Plaquemines LNG and Cheniere’s Corpus Christi Stage III, have already reached a final investment decision (FID) on a combined 23.3 MMtpa (3.1 Bcf/d) of export capacity, which will be online by mid-decade. But by the looks of it, we are just getting started. Next up could be NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG, which has sold 75% of its first two trains’ capacity — enough to take FID, possibly by the end of the year. If it moves forward, not only will the project add another 10.8 MMtpa (1.43 Bcf/d) or more of export capacity to the Gulf Coast, it could also come with a new carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) facility, which has long been a selling point for the project. In today’s RBN blog, we continue our series on the U.S. LNG projects most likely to move forward, this time with a look at Rio Grande LNG.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed U.S. LNG into the spotlight as Europe seeks to wean itself off Russian natural gas. In the short term, U.S. LNG to Europe is constrained by liquefaction capacity on the LNG output side but also by Europe’s own import capacity and pipeline grid. Very little can be done to quickly increase global LNG production, and while many export terminals will operate at peak capacity for longer to boost output, LNG terminals take time to build, so capacity for this year and the next few years is already set. Further out, however, there is no shortage of new projects hoping to capitalize on the current clamor for LNG and reach a final investment decision (FID), and the U.S. could be headed toward its biggest year for new LNG capacity ever. In today’s RBN blog, we continue our series examining key U.S. projects, turning our lens to what is arguably the most discussed and reported-on project on our list — and one that is moving forward potentially without a formal FID — Tellurian’s Driftwood LNG.

Cheniere Energy is by far the largest owner and operator of U.S. LNG capacity, with 45 MMtpa across nine liquefaction trains at two terminals: the six-train Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana and the three-train Corpus Christi terminal in South Texas. But when Sabine Pass Train 6 was placed into service earlier this year, it marked the first time since 2012 that Cheniere had no capacity under construction. The pause may not last long. With global demand for LNG super-strong and prices even stronger — the April Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) contract hit a record $72.53/MMBtu on March 7 — and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatening future supplies of Russian gas into Europe, Cheniere may be poised to make a final investment decision (FID) on the next stage of its Corpus Christi LNG. In today’s RBN blog, we continue our series on the next wave of U.S. LNG projects with a closer look at Cheniere’s Corpus Christi Stage III.

It’s expected to be a big year for U.S. LNG. The U.S. was the top monthly exporter of LNG for the first time in December 2021 and is expected to hold onto that crown as new capacity at Sabine Pass and a new terminal, Calcasieu Pass, begin service this year. The chaos of European gas markets has made U.S. exports particularly attractive, especially after a year or more of high global demand, sky-high global gas prices, and an undersupplied market that has left offtakers clamoring for more. Last year saw those offtakers come back to the negotiating table for long-term sales and purchase agreements (SPAs) from new U.S. LNG capacity and several projects now have a realistic path to a positive final investment decision (FID) in 2022. In today’s RBN blog we begin a series taking a closer look at some of the projects most likely to reach FID this year, starting with arguably the most likely next contender, Venture Global’s Plaquemines LNG.