San Diego-based Sempra Energy expects to reach final investment decisions (FID) during the first half of next year for liquefied natural gas (LNG) expansion projects while it finishes construction of its second and third liquefaction trains at the Cameron, LA, LNG export site.

Sempra President Joe Householder indicated that the Energia Costa Azul (ECA) phase one LNG export project in North Baja California, Mexico, should reach the FID stage in 1Q2020, and the first phase of the Port Arthur, TX, LNG export project will do the same in 2Q2020.

With the first liquefaction train operating at the Cameron LNG facility in Hackberry, LA, the three-train project is more than 96% complete, Householder said.

"We recently began limited site activity at Port Arthur, and we continue to advance discussions with interested customers for the rest of the plant capacity," Householder said.

Householder said that Sempra's marketing efforts for LNG globally have picked up momentum with "significant participation" at the highest levels of the involved organizations. "We're focused on bringing all of our LNG projects to fruition and securing binding offtake agreements to satisfy global demand and deliver value to shareholders," he said.

The vision of Householder and CEO Jeffrey Martin is that Sempra export projects on the Gulf and the West Coast of Mexico are going to "unlock North America's energy potential." Householder said Sempra wants to take the extra time to "get it right," and added that partners in the projects "have to get comfortable" with their projected returns.

"We're signing a lot of MOUs and the customers are quite excited about the projects," Householder said.

Sempra reported 3Q2019 earnings of $813 million ($2.84/share), compared to $274 million (99 cents) in the same period last year.