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Cheap Oil Tide Swamps Excelerate's Texas Floating LNG Project

Excelerate Energy LP affiliates have asked FERC to set aside consideration of their proposed floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal off the Texas coast because the global oil price crash has upended the economics of the project, which could have been the nation's first floating LNG export terminal.

"Recent global economic conditions -- including, among other things, a steep decrease in the price of oil -- have created uncertainty regarding the economics of the project," the Excelerate units said in a recent filing [CP14-71, CP14-72 and CP14-73] seeking to put the project proceeding in abeyance. "In light of these changes, Excelerate has conducted a strategic reconsideration of the economic value of the project and has determined to place the project proceedings at the Commission on hold pending a change in circumstances, either generally or from the renewed interest of potential counterparties."

On Feb. 6 Excelerate Liquefaction Solutions (Port Lavaca I) LLC, Excelerate Liquefaction Solutions (Port Lavaca 2) LLC, and Lavaca Bay Pipeline System LLC submitted an application pursuant under sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the project (see Daily GPI, Feb. 24).

Excelerate is now seeking to put the project proceeding in abeyance until April 1 when it said it will be able to update the Commission on the project's status. "Granting of the motion would help to prevent the unnecessary expenditure of resources by both Excelerate and the Commission during the first quarter of 2015. Excelerate also seeks leave to defer its responses to the Commission’s October 2 and December 18 data requests until April 2015."

Fitch Ratings recently warned that the compression of the spread between U.S. natural gas prices and global oil prices, which tend to set global LNG prices, could imperil some U.S. LNG export projects. "The recent drop in oil prices has tempered longer-term market oil price expectations, which could challenge offtake contract negotiations creating delays and/or changing the terms of tolling arrangements," the ratings agency said (see Daily GPI, Dec. 24).

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