Total SA, which is building out liquefied natural gas (LNG) stakes along the Gulf Coast, has entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to help Sempra Energy develop the Cameron, LA, facility, as well as the proposed Energia Costa Azul (ECA) project in Mexico.

Total is a 16.6% stakeholder in Cameron LNG, acquired last year through its takeover of the Engie LNG portfolio.

According to terms of the MOU, Total may take up to 9 million metric tons/year (mmty) of combined offtake from the Cameron project and the ECA facility planned for Baja California, Mexico. A final investment decision (FID) on ECA, part of Sempra’s Infraestructura Energética Nova unit, is expected next year.

"The U.S. is increasing its global leadership position in the production of oil and natural gas,” Sempra CEO Jeffrey W. Martin said. “In large measure, the next step in fulfilling our country’s energy potential is the development of critical export infrastructure for LNG.

“Sempra Energy has a long-term goal of developing more than 45 mmty of LNG export capacity in North America. That is why our relationship with Total is so important. We plan to leverage the competitive strengths of both companies to accelerate development of North American LNG exports to global markets.”

Sempra also is developing the Port Arthur, TX, LNG export project, a facility with two liquefaction trains capable of producing 11 mmty.

“The Sempra relationship will support our goal of building a diverse portfolio of LNG supply options that offers our customers flexibility, reliability and low-cost North American natural gas,” Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said. The collaboration would “extend the Cameron LNG project,” as well as help develop “export capacity on the West Coast of Mexico, which will benefit from synergies with existing infrastructure and from a significant shipping cost advantage for customers in Asia.”

The $10 billion Phase 1 of the Cameron LNG joint venture, now under construction,includes three liquefaction trains with about 14 mmty of export capacity. Commissioning of the first train is underway; all three trains are expected to be producing LNG in 2019.

Phase 2 of Cameron LNG, already authorized by FERC, encompasses up to two additional liquefaction trains and up to two additional LNG storage tanks with about 9 mmty of capacity.

Sempra on Friday (Nov. 2) said construction at the Cameron site was completed, with commissioning underway of the project in Hackberry, LA. Sempra indirectly owns 50.2% of Cameron LNG. Besides Total, partners are Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Corp. and NYK Line.

In Phase 1 of ECA, to be supplied with U.S. natural gas,  a one-train facility would have total export capacity of 2.5 mmty, using the existing LNG receipt terminal’s tanks, loading arms and berth. ECA Phase 2 is expected to have additional export capacity of 12 mmty.

Total, headquartered in France, has a variety of gas projects underway around the world. It  already has a 23% stake in Tellurian Inc.’s proposed Driftwood LNG project that would have capacity to export up to 27.6 mmty. An FID for Driftwood has not yet been announced.