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Tellurian Inc. said Monday that its massive Driftwood LNG export project proposed for Louisiana is “shovel ready,” with construction targeted to start this year.

While the project has yet to be sanctioned, analysts now expect a final investment decision (FID) later in the year rather than earlier as competition for supply agreements remains strong and weak global prices are clouding the outlook for new projects.

“...The current uncertainty around global commodities demand and the recent coronavirus outbreak is making us increasingly cautious on FID progress,” said analysts at Evercore ISI, noting that Qatar also recently delayed selecting partners and contractors for a North Field LNG expansion project. More than 20 LNG projects are still pending in the United States alone.

If Tellurian seals a previously announced deal with India’s state-owned Petronet it would have only 4 million metric tons per year (mmty) of LNG left to sell. If construction starts this year as planned, the company expects first LNG by 2023.

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