Houston-based Tellurian Inc., which is designing a Louisiana natural gas export project to be fed from its own Lower 48 production, on Thursday said it has slashed the equity buy-in for its proposed 27.6 million metric ton/year (mmty) facility.
According to an investor presentation posted on the website, the required equity investment in the nearly $28 billion Driftwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Calcasieu Parish, designed with five export trains, would fall to $500/ton from $1,500/ton.
The capital mix would shift from roughly $24 billion equity and $3.5 billion debt under the previous equity heavy structure to roughly $20 billion debt and just $8 billion equity under the new proposed levered approach.
Tellurian revised the cost to deliver LNG free on board (FOB) to $4.50/MMBtu, including $3.00 for feed gas/liquefaction and $1.50 for debt servicing. The previous total estimate was $3.00/MMBtu FOB.
As a reference and by comparison, Motley Fool estimates that Cheniere Energy Inc. has taken on almost $27 billion in debt for its two LNG export projects, the Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana that has exports underway, and the planned Corpus Christi liquefaction terminal in South Texas.
Tellurian indicated it plans to retain up to 12 mmty of capacity and still expects to hold 40% of the equity, with partners retaining 60%.
Tellurian’s unique strategy centers around eliminating Henry Hub gas price volatility by owning the volumes. Proposed pipelines on the drawing table would move up to 4 Bcf/d to Driftwood from the Permian Basin and Haynesville Shale.
As of August, about two dozen customers/partners had expressed interest in taking equity in Driftwood, according to CEO Meg Gentle.
France’s Total SA, one of the largest LNG buyers in the world, owns an estimated 23% stake in Tellurian, and GE Oil & Gas has a $25 million preferred equity investment. In addition, Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals Inc. owns stakes and is working on the project design. How the revised financial strategy could impact current investments was not detailed.
A draft environmental impact statement for Driftwood was issued last month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. A final investment decision tentatively is scheduled by mid-2019. If it were to move forward, LNG exports could begin in 2023.