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King Creole, Part 3 - Venture Global Becomes LNG Leader as Calcasieu Pass Commissioning Drags On

Venture Global reached a final investment decision (FID) on Plaquemines LNG Phase 1 in March 2022, making it the first new LNG project to get the green light post-COVID and kicking off a massive expansion period for U.S. LNG. In fact, more than 61 million tons per annum (MMtpa) of new U.S. LNG capacity has been given the go-ahead in the past 17 months, including the full 20-MMtpa Plaquemines LNG project from Venture Global, plus projects from Cheniere, Sempra and, most recently, NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG. Even if no new LNG projects are sanctioned after this — which seems unlikely, given the progress seen on some pre-FID projects — the U.S. will have the capacity to export 167.5 MMtpa, or more than 22 Bcf/d, by later this decade. This unprecedented level of buildout continues to be dominated by our “Big Three” of U.S. LNG — Cheniere, Sempra and Venture Global — which not only already operate LNG export terminals in the U.S. and have projects currently under construction, but all still have more capacity under development and working toward eventual FIDs. In today’s RBN blog, we wrap up our series with a look at the newest member of the Big Three, Venture Global, its projects under development and the controversy surrounding the commissioning of Calcasieu Pass LNG.

In Part 1, we examined the projects under development by Sempra. Sempra currently operates Cameron LNG in Louisiana and has two sanctioned projects under construction: Port Arthur LNG, the 13.5-MMtpa project in Texas that took FID earlier this year, and ECA LNG (aka Energia Costa Azul LNG), which will be Mexico’s first land-based LNG export terminal. ECA was the last LNG project to take FID pre-COVID and is due online in 2025. Sempra also has planned expansions at Cameron, Port Arthur and ECA under development as well as another terminal in Mexico, Vista Pacifico. The Cameron expansion is the closest of Sempra’s projects to taking FID, with that decision now expected next year, but Sempra has also begun commercializing Port Arthur Phase 2.

Next, in Part 2, we turned our attention to the undisputed king of U.S. LNG, Cheniere, which is not only the U.S.’s largest LNG exporter, but among the biggest in the world, second only to QatarEnergy. Cheniere currently operates 45 MMtpa (6 Bcf/d) of LNG export capacity at its two terminals, Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi, and has a 10-MMtpa expansion of Corpus Christi under construction as well as further planned expansions at both terminals. With Cheniere’s track record of excellence and reputation, it’s been able to secure long-term offtake commitments for most of the expansions’ capacity very early in the development process. The latest Corpus Christi expansion, Midscale Trains 8 and 9, was sold out before Cheniere had even announced a name for the project, let alone filed with regulators. Both that project and the larger planned expansion at Sabine Pass are in the early stages of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval process and will need to complete that before taking FID.

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