Venture Global LNG Inc. has raised another $675 million to further develop its proposed 20 million tons per year (mmty) Plaquemines LNG export project, management announced Thursday.
The Arlington, VA-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) developer, also behind the Calcasieu Pass LNG terminal currently under construction in Cameron Parish, LA, has now raised a total of $2.8 billion to invest in its export projects.
“With the expansion of our Plaquemines LNG sales and purchase agreement with PGNiG to 2.5 mmty and in anticipation of additional near-term commercialization, we are excited to add significant new resources as we prepare to commence early works at Plaquemines later this year,” CEOs Mike Sabel and Bob Pender said.
Management expects a final order from FERC by Aug. 1 on the Plaquemines facility.
Earlier this year, Venture Global said it planned to double the capacity at its Gulf Coast facilities because of strong customer demand, plans that included increasing the scope of an agreement with Baker Hughes, a GE Company to provide technology for the Calcasieu Pass and Plaquemines facilities. Venture Global has also detailed plans to regulators for a third Louisiana LNG terminal that would start up in 2023.
Meanwhile, Australian-based Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. (LNGL) earlier in the week said it has executed an updated engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for work on its Magnolia LNG terminal.
The updated contract, with KSJV, a joint venture of Houston-based KBR Inc. and South Korean firm SK Engineering & Construction, “reflects the entire scope of the original EPC contract amended for updated subcontractor pricing, costs associated with increasing Magnolia’s liquefaction capacity and additional scope of work to be provided by the KSJV that were previously LNGL’s responsibility,” management said.
The updated agreement is valid until Dec. 31 and accounts for an additional 0.8 mmty of capacity, growing Magnolia’s total installed capacity to 8.8 mmty.
The Magnolia project, still awaiting a final investment decision (FID) pending additional offtaker commitments, proposes constructing four liquefaction trains of 2.2 mmty each. The Port of Lake Charles, LA, facility is fully permitted, including an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and worldwide export approval from the Department of Energy.
The latest developments on the U.S. LNG front come as analysts see growing exports as a source of relief for what has been an oversupplied domestic gas market.
“While we see ample supply available for export without pushing prices above range-bound territory, the growing U.S. export market will help maintain a floor under natural gas prices, without which prices could tumble, threatening production aggregates,” analysts with Moody’s Investors Service said in a research note Friday.
The Moody’s team observed that natural gas is the only fossil fuel enjoying a growing share of global energy demand.
“Natural gas demand is likely to grow in all regions worldwide, led by China, which is likely to account for over 40% of global demand growth through 2035 -- largely for environmental reasons,” Moody’s said. “Chinese demand developments will increasingly dominate the price signals for traded natural gas markets globally.”
The Moody’s outlook mirrors that of the International Energy Agency, which said in a recent report that it expects Asian countries to drive global natural gas demand growth over the next five years, with U.S. LNG poised to play a key role in supplying this demand.
Moody’s said it expects U.S. LNG exports to expand at an almost 20% compound annual rate of growth to 2025, reaching the equivalent of about 12% of projected domestic natural gas production versus less than 4% in 2018.
“While growth in U.S. LNG export capacity could saturate the market and cause near-term price discounting, with global natural gas demand projected to grow up to 1.7% annually, LNG markets could once again see a shortfall in supply by the mid-2020s...just in time for an expected second wave of new supply from the U.S.,” Moody’s said.
Still, the horizon has not been without storm clouds for developers at the helm of second-wave U.S. LNG facilities, as exported gas has been among the commodities impacted by the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute.
In fact, LNGL CEO Greg Vesey last year cited the trade conflict as a key factor delaying FID for the Magnolia LNG project.