Appalachian pure-play operator Antero Resources Corp. said Friday it has signed an agreement with a Cheniere Energy Inc. subsidiary to sell 50,000 MMBtu/d of natural gas to the company’s Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana.

The agreement, Antero said, will become effective once operations at Sabine’s first liquefaction train begin, which Cheniere has said should happen late next year. Antero will ship the gas with its existing firm transportation agreements to the Gulf Coast and Cheniere will pay for those volumes based on New York Mercantile Exchange prices.

Antero also said the deal allows for 50,000 MMBtu/d of incremental increases up to 200,000 MMBtu/d as each of Sabine’s four trains come online. Sabine Pass is located at the mouth of the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana. The four trains planned for the 1,154 acre site have been approved by regulators for a peak day LNG production and export capacity of 2.76 Bcf/d (see Daily GPI, Feb. 20).

The announcement comes at time when production is continuing to grow in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays (see Daily GPI, July 14), creating a surplus of natural gas and prompting a reversal of some interstate pipelines to move those volumes to new markets (see Shale Daily, March 12). A report released by Canaccord Genuity on Thursday said LNG exports will play an increasingly important role in creating new markets for the Northeast’s gas and helping to close the spread between Henry Hub and Appalachian Basin prices (see Daily GPI, July 17).

Antero, which also said Friday that it had surpassed 1 Bcfe/d of net production is one of the first major Appalachian producers to announce an LNG export supply agreement. In June, another Marcellus heavy-weight, Range Resources Corp., said it had reached a deal with Cheniere to begin supplying gas to Sabine for five years beginning in 2017 (see Daily GPI, June 26).

At an industry conference last month in Pittsburgh, Cheniere’s Vice President of Supply Corey Grindal said the Appalachian Basin is factoring heavily into its export plans along the Gulf Coast (see Daily GPI, June 6), where it has also received federal approval for an expansion at its Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, TX, and has permits pending for another liquefaction facility in Corpus Christi, TX (see Daily GPI, May 20, 2013; Sept. 4, 2012). Cheniere, Grindal said at the time, is actively buying gas in the basin, with plans to continue securing more agreements in the coming years.